Yates struggles with asthma, finds sports that fit her capacity



Junior Dorothy Yates competes in one of her many cheer competitions of this season. This year the cheer team placed second at districts.

Asthma affects 6.1 million children under 18 years of age and 3.5 million of these children have suffered from an asthma attack. Junior Dorothy Yates suffers from severe asthma symptoms, where her asthma attacks have stopped her breathing up to the point in which she has turned blue from the lack of oxygen. 

“I was also in and out of the hospital because I would have asthma attacks. This one time I had a really bad asthma attack where I just completely stopped breathing, and my mom had to take me to the hospital. I was sitting there and I just could not breathe. I started turning blue and I had to get rescue medicine and everything,” Yates said.

Being in and out of the hospital, with frequent asthma attacks also impacted Yates early school life. This was also bundled with her hit or miss sleep schedule due to her attacks, having to depend on her nebulizer, a rescue inhaler at home, which has a mask that pumps medicine into her lungs relaxing them for easier breathing.

“I would be in and out of school, kind of. I would have a hard nights, like there would be nights where I would sleep fine and then other nights I would be unable to breathe. I would have to use my nebulizer with my medicine. I would just go to sleep on my nebulizer. My mom would have to, every hour or so, lean me over her knee and listen to my breathing pattern,” Yates said.

Now, her asthma symptoms aren’t quite as severe, but her severe asthma affected which sports she was able to do early on.

“As a kid it was hard because I couldn’t really do a lot of things. Like, run all the way around the playground with all the other kids, run down the hill or roll down the hill. I wasn’t able to do that because of my asthma. Growing up, I just learned how to maintain it while doing sports by doing soccer, swimming, tennis, cheer and gymnastics,” Yates said.

As for the sports that she does now, her asthma doesn’t affect them much. Although, she always has to be on the lookout for symptoms of an asthma attack because they could occur at any time. 

“Standing conditioning in the weight room doesn’t bother me. It’s just running very long distances for me makes me really winded. Especially when it gets really hot it makes it harder for me to breathe [naturally]. Also, during the winter it’s the same thing when I get too cold I just can’t breathe. For Gymnastics running for vault doesn’t really wind me, but when I do it over and over and over it just kinda takes [more] energy [for me],” Yates said. “I don’t really have to use [my inhaler] every single time [I do a sport]. I am just very aware of what I’m doing and I have to just make sure that [my inhaler] is near me. Anytime I could just have an asthma attack, which is kinda scary.”

Mostly her asthma affects her energy levels throughout the day. Making her tire more easily after any type of physical exertion.

“I feel like [my sports] would still be very challenging [without asthma], it would be easier for me and my lungs and [give me] more energy,” Yates said.

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