Following my son’s sports physical exam this month, the doctor gave our 9-year-old a bit of crushing news.
“You cannot play football right now,” the doctor told him.
My son’s eyes filled with tears. He’d already told his uncles, cousins and friends that he was playing an offensive position in tackle football and traveling with his team to places “far away.”
But, for the first time, he realized that his asthma could affect his ability to play the sport he loves so dearly.
I, on the other hand, was relieved.
Now, I don’t mind if my son plays flag football, but tackle football is a whole different category. Both he and his dad are avid football fans and asthma sufferers who love watching reruns of last year’s Saints football games on DVR.
As a mom, I’m worried about my son breaking something or even having an asthma attack in the middle of a game.
The Centers for Disease Control report that some 3.5 million children under age 14 receive medical treatment for sports injuries each year.
Just days before the physical, my son had suited up in his cleats and football jersey and pants, training with other children his age on a neighborhood football field.
He told me he felt a little out of breath at the end of practice. But, most of the kids in his practice group were out of breath after two hours of running and huddling on a field.
During his checkup, it at first appeared he was going to pass all of the requirements. The doctor verbally read through his medical checklist, but paused when he reviewed the box checked “asthma.” He asked about my son’s asthma and his occasional bouts with shortness of breath and coughing.
After our discussion, the doctor decided to not allow him to play and advised me to have my son’s condition evaluated more. At that, I set up an appointment with his pediatrician, who has helped manage my son’s asthma for the past several years.
He cried silently in the car following the appointment, insisting he always felt fine on the field.
“I understand, son” I told him. “It’s just that we can’t take any chances with your health.”
Following the medical visit, I wanted to cheer him up a bit, so we went shopping and bought him a Madden football video game.
It probably won’t compare with the real game he loves so much, but he can play it each afternoon with his friends and his older brother.
His next checkup is this week. I’m thankful that the doctor flagged him. It gives us a chance to make changes and adjustments with managing his asthma.
In the meantime, he’ll continue to throw the football in the backyard, play sports video games and watch pre-season football.
Chante Dionne Warren is a freelance writer. She can be reached at email@example.com.