Star trio dispel asthma fears

What do Manchester United, Chelsea, Arsenal, Liverpool, Tottenham Hotspur, Everton and Newcastle United have in common? They've all employed heroes who happen to have asthma.

David Beckham's use of an inhaler during LA Galaxyo’s MLS Cup final with Real Salt Lake has brought his asthma into the public domain, but he is by no means the only famous footballer with the condition.

According to Asthma UK, past and present asthmatics include Frank Lampard, Paul Scholes, Robbie Fowler, Ian Wright, Paul Gascoigne, Louis Saha and Sir Alex Ferguson – and the millions of football-mad youngsters who suffer from the airway-contracting condition can take plenty of inspiration from such heroes.

“David has suffered with [asthma] since he was a young boy," Beckham's representative Simon Oliveira explains, "but obviously it has had no effect on his performance.

“He has never sought to make it public but if it does inspire any sufferer to think they can achieve great things, like many other sportsmen have done, then so much the better.

“Some of the best athletes in the world suffer from asthma and there is no problem with his aerobic fitness.”

Asthma is a serious condition for many people and can be life-threatening, but for Beckham it has not been a barrier to success.

And Asthma UK lead nurse Cher Piddock believes Beckham is living proof that anybody suffering with the condition can still fulfil their dreams of making it to the highest level in professional sport.

“There are more than five million people with asthma in the UK," says Piddock.

"Despite the fact it can be very serious for some people, if it’s well managed, it needn’t stop you competing at the highest level as shown by David and other famous footballers.

“Hopefully this news will inspire sport loving children with asthma around the country and show that asthma doesn’t have to stop you achieving your dreams.”

Chelsea and England star Lampard hasn’t let asthma stop him leading a successful career – including two Premier League winners’ medals and more than 70 appearances for his country to date.

“Being active should be a big part of every child’s life,” says Lampard. “So it’s vital we tackle people’s ignorance about asthma head on to stop children with asthma missing out.”

Everton's goal-grabbing striker Saha is another famous asthmatic, and believes there is no reason why the condition should stop kids from reaching their goals in life.

“Having asthma shouldn’t mean you get left on the bench," says the former Fulham and Manchester United striker.

“We need to show kids with asthma that nothing should stop them from getting what they want out of life.”

Beckham, Lampard and Saha are just three examples of a host of current and ex-players who have overcome asthma to fulfil their ambitions in the world of football.

Former England internationals Scholes, Wright, Gascoigne and Fowler have all battled asthma during their careers, along with long-standing Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson.

For more information see asthma.org.uk or call the adviceline on 0800 121 62 44.