Research leads to call for lung health screening at top football clubs

December 8, 2017 by Sandy Fleming, University of Kent
Credit: University of Kent

New research from the University has discovered that nearly three in 10 elite footballers at top clubs in England have undetected lung and airway problems that could impair their on-field performance.

The findings of this study will be presented at a British Thoracic Society meeting on 8 December by lead researcher Anna Jackson, who will also call for all top football clubs to implement a lung health screening programme to help identify those with airway problems and treat them appropriately.

The research, which was conducted with colleagues at London's Royal Brompton Hospital, assessed the health and impact of treatment in 97 elite male footballers undergoing pre-season fitness and medical screening. It discovered that high rates of previously undiagnosed exercise-induced asthma (EIA) existed among those tested.

Footballers are traditionally screened for potential heart problems using rigorous medical tests but Ms Jackson and colleagues recommend that this should also be the case for lung and breathing issues. Not only would it improve the lung health of players, it also has the potential to increase the players' performance.

They also suggest that clubs need to implement a more rigorous screening programme pre-season using core medical tests and to move beyond looking ad-hoc at possible symptoms, as sometimes these may not always be obvious – or even 'written off' as poor fitness or short term "coughs and colds."

It is often the case that in some clubs footballers who are very short of breath or who cough a lot after training may be deemed as not being "fit enough," when in fact they may have with their airways that need to be treated.

Explore further: Dental health of professional footballers is 'poor' and affects performance

Related Stories

Dental health of professional footballers is 'poor' and affects performance

November 2, 2015
Nearly four out of 10 UK professional footballers have active tooth decay, while one in 20 has irreversible gum disease, finds a large representative study of players, published online in the British Journal of Sports Medicine.

Retired professional footballers at higher risk of knee osteoarthritis

November 2, 2017
Retired professional footballers are far more prone to develop knee pain and osteoarthritis and face problems with their knees earlier in life than the average person, a study has revealed.

People born premature have smaller airways causing respiratory problems

November 30, 2017
People born prematurely may have smaller airways than those born at full term, which can cause respiratory problems. That's according to research published in Experimental Physiology today.

Sports psychologists suffer fear and uncertainty working with elite footballers

November 8, 2017
Sports psychologists have to cope with "fear and uncertainty", job insecurity and long working hours when working with elite footballers, research shows.

The impact of extreme exercise on breathing in GB Olympic boxers and swimmers

September 8, 2016
Many British swimmers and some boxers won medals and achieved personal best performances at the Rio Olympic Games despite asthma related breathing issues.

Experts urge Europe to start planning for lung cancer screening

November 27, 2017
Leading lung cancer specialists are urging EU countries to take action to initiate life-saving lung cancer screening programmes as soon as possible.

Recommended for you

A co-worker's rudeness can affect your sleep—and your partner's, study finds

December 14, 2018
Rudeness. Sarcastic comments. Demeaning language. Interrupting or talking over someone in a meeting. Workplace incivilities such as these are becoming increasingly common, and a new study from Portland State University and ...

A holiday gift to primary care doctors: Proof of their time crunch

December 14, 2018
The average primary care doctor needs to work six more hours a day than they already do, in order to make sure their patients get all the preventive and early-detection care they want and deserve, a new study finds.

Teens get more sleep with later school start time, researchers find

December 12, 2018
When Seattle Public Schools announced that it would reorganize school start times across the district for the fall of 2016, the massive undertaking took more than a year to deploy. Elementary schools started earlier, while ...

Large restaurant portions a global problem, study finds

December 12, 2018
A new multi-country study finds that large, high-calorie portion sizes in fast food and full service restaurants is not a problem unique to the United States. An international team of researchers found that 94 percent of ...

Receiving genetic information can change risk

December 11, 2018
Millions of people in the United States alone have submitted their DNA for analysis and received information that not only predicts their risk for disease but, it turns out, in some cases might also have influenced that risk, ...

Yes please to yoghurt and cheese: The new improved Mediterranean diet

December 11, 2018
Thousands of Australians can take heart as new research from the University of South Australia shows a dairy-enhanced Mediterranean diet will significantly increase health outcomes for those at risk of cardiovascular disease ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.