asthma awareness

A Brief Insight into the World of Asthmatics

By James T. Young

The expanded conversation about Asthma Awareness in recent years is very good. I imagine that only people who actually suffer from it can appreciate how frightening or fatal an attack can be.

I had a summer job at a bakery in Richmond, Virginia. There were several steps in baking commercially. Next to the last step was was placing the dough in a pan and placing the pan on a rack. When the rack was full it was pushed into the steam room, where the bread rose, before going into the oven. One day the foreman told me to go into the steam room and straighten the racks up because they were all stacked near the door. I opened the door and began to push the racks deeper into the steam room. I tried to inhale while in the back. I inhaled, nothing! So, I inhaled again, nothing! I came out of that steam room like a shot out of a rifle. Once outside I took a deep breath and my lungs filled with air as I inhaled deeply.

All of the regular employees were laughing because that was a sort of “initiation”. They all knew that once you left the area where the door was open that there was no oxygen further back in the steam room and after a little exertion one found that out. That is the same type of reaction that Asthma sufferers must go through, except their bronchial tubes constrict keeping the air from reaching their lungs.

As terrifying as my “steam room” experience was, can you imagine what an asthmatic child or adult must cope with knowing that at any moment the air they breathe, food they eat or what they drink may trigger an attack? May the search for a cure and the dissemination of information about asthma awareness continue.

About the author: James T. Young, SEE empoloyee in the Office of Public Engagement.

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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Tackling Asthma: On and Off the Field

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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.

Please share this post. However, please don't change the title or the content. If you do make changes, don't attribute the edited title or content to EPA or the author.