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Tackling Asthma: On and Off the Field

2013 May 1

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By Chris Draft

While playing linebacker in the NFL for 12 years, I am proud to say I achieved much success during my career. But maybe my greatest accomplishment is just being on the field with asthma. There was a time when asthma would have been considered too great an obstacle to overcome to achieve pro football status. By being proactive and working with my physician to identify my asthma triggers, I was able to show that asthma does not have to be a setback in life.

I am one of approximately 25 million people across the U.S. who has asthma. People often ask me what it was like to play in the NFL with asthma, and my response is I don’t know what it was like to play in the NFL WITHOUT asthma. Asthma is a part of me and I’m pleased to be able to use my voice to show that asthma can be overcome.

During the last few years, I have been proud to partner with EPA to promote the message that asthma does not have to limit what you can achieve in your life. The Asthma Team at the Chris Draft Family Foundation, works to promote asthma awareness and education across the country.

These days, I am tackling asthma off the field. I continue to charge on in my campaign to raise awareness and help others triumph over asthma. During Asthma Awareness Month, I hope to inspire others by showing them how I achieved my success in controlling asthma. I can summarize it in a very simple statement: “Asthma can’t stop me, so don’t let it stop you.”

About the author: A former NFL linebacker, Chris Draft is also the Founder, President, and CEO of the Chris Draft Family Foundation (CDFF), a non-profit organization dedicated to empowering families to live healthy lifestyles.  Draft is a nationally recognized community leader and health advocate who serves as an NFL Ambassador, National Ambassador for the Parent Teacher Association, and a national spokesperson on many health-related issues, including the care and treatment of asthma, from which he suffers, and lung cancer, the disease that claimed the life of his wife, Keasha, late last year.

A leader both on and off the field, Draft has received a number of awards and honors for his tireless work in the community.  Learn more about his accomplishments.

See Chris’s EPA asthma public service announcement

Editor's Note: The opinions expressed here are those of the author. They do not reflect EPA policy, endorsement, or action, and EPA does not verify the accuracy or science of the contents of the blog.

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One Response leave one →
  1. Amy Stephan permalink
    May 7, 2013

    Playing on tire crumb based athletic turf fields should be studied as an asthma trigger. Tire crumb contains all the ingredients that could provoke an asthma attack, including 24 harmful gases, carbon black particulate (tires are 30% carbon black; a probable carcinogen) in varying sizes, benzothiazoles, PAHs, POHs, laytex, and sulphurs… and of course a multitude of mixtures of these ingredients (and many more!) that are created in the chemically dynamic area above a field. Of course the yield from the tire crumb increases as temperature increases, and we parents know that the fields on a typical sunny day in summer in DC routinely reach 160F or higher… the heat fatigue alone can provoke respiratory stress. These fields should never have been allowed near children.

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