Asthma is a disorder of the airways that causes them to constrict (narrow and tighten) on exposure to certain stimulants. The airway constriction is caused by inflammation and swelling of the lining of the airways, tightening of the muscles in the airway and excess mucous production.
Asthma affects over 2 million Australians and as of yet the cause is unknown.
Many athletes struggle with competition due to having asthma. Exercise is in fact one of the most common triggers of an asthma attack.
There are different ways however, to manage asthma that is triggered by exercise and having your asthma under control can will allow to continue to play and breathe easily.
A TUE grants an athlete permission to use, for therapeutic purposes, a substance or method that would otherwise be prohibited.
Obtain a therapeutic use exemption form through your sports International Federation (IF) or National Anti-Doping Organisation (NADO).
Have your physician fill in the form and return it to either your IF or NADO with supporting documents. The supporting documents will need to include a complete medical history (including hospital admissions for asthma and reports from a clinical examination of the respiratory system),spirometry results and results from one of the breathing tests to diagnose asthma (as below).
The TUE should be submitted at least 21 days before participating in an event.
Non-prohibited alternative treatment options:
Respiratory symptoms cannot be relied on to make a diagnosis of asthma and/or airways hyperresponsiveness (AHR) in elite athletes.
For this reason, the diagnosis should be confirmed with bronchial provocation tests.
Asthma management in elite athletes should follow established treatment guidelines (eg, Global Initiative for Asthma) and should include:
Long-term intense endurance training, particularly in unfavourable environmental conditions, appears to be associated with an increased risk of developing asthma and AHR in elite athletes.
Globally, the prevalence of asthma, exercise-induced bronchoconstriction, and AHR in elite athletes reflects the known prevalence of asthma symptoms in each country.