Incidence of exercise-induced asthma in adolescent athletes under different training and environmental conditions

J Strength Cond Res. 2012 Jun;26(6):1644-50. doi: 10.1519/JSC.0b013e318234eb0c.


The aim of this study was to establish if there were differences in the incidence of exercise-induced bronchospasm between athletes in different sports, which take place under different environmental conditions such as open places, closed courses, and swimming pools with similar exercise intensity (football, basketball, water polo) using the free running test. The study included 90 adolescents (3 groups of 30) aged 14-18 years recruited from academies in northern Greece. All the participants were initially subjected to (a) a clinical examination and cardiorespiratory assessment by a physician and (b) free running test of a 6-minute duration and measurement with a microspirometer of the forced expiratory volume in 1 second (FEV₁). Only the participants who had measured a decrease in FEV₁ ≥ 10% were reevaluated with the microspirometer during a training session. The examination of all the participants during the free running test showed that 22 athletes, that is, 9, 8, and 5 of football, basketball, and water polo athletes, respectively, demonstrated an FEV₁ ≥ 10 drop. Reevaluation of the 22 participants during training showed that 5 out 9 (55%) football athletes, 4 out of 8 basketball athletes (50%), and none of the 5 athletes of the water polo team displayed a drop of FEV₁ ≥ 10%. Despite the absence of any significant statistical differences between the 3 groups, the analysis of variances did show a trend of a lower incidence of EIA in the water polo athletes. It was found that a football or basketball game can induce EIA in young athletes but to a lesser degree than the free running test can induce. The water polo can be a safer sport even for participants with a medical history of asthma or allergies.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Asthma, Exercise-Induced / epidemiology*
  • Asthma, Exercise-Induced / etiology
  • Asthma, Exercise-Induced / physiopathology
  • Athletes
  • Environment
  • Exercise / physiology*
  • Forced Expiratory Volume
  • Greece
  • Humans
  • Incidence
  • Male
  • Physical Education and Training / methods*
  • Risk Factors
  • Spirometry
  • Sports
  • Surveys and Questionnaires