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arlier this month, Children’s teamed up with the Boston Public Health Commission to host the second annual Boston Asthma Games, an event that educates children with asthma about their chronic condition while showing them that they can enjoy physical activity just like other kids.
For half of the day, more than 50 participants between 5 and 12 years old played games such as flag football and soccer on the fields of the Roxbury branch of the YMCA. Later, the games moved to the indoor pool—a setting that is often considered off-limits for asthmatic children. “
One of my favorite parts of the event is to see kids in a pool,” says Amy Burack, RN, Community Asthma Program manager, who coordinated the event. “This kind of activity tells the kids, ‘you have asthma and you can do anything.’” One of the biggest changes from last year’s event was better incorporation of kids’ families into the activities. Children with asthma participated in the same games as their siblings without asthma, and parents found a wealth of information about the chronic illness. Organizers explained appropriate classification of asthma, daily control methods, proper management plans and how to deal with asthma during the hot months of summer. “
We hope the education will trickle down to kids through the parents,” says Burack. “Even more important, by promoting the link between asthma health and physical activity, we showed the children that their asthma can be controlled—it doesn’t have to control them.”
Margaret Reid, RN, director of the city’s Asthma Prevention and Control program, praised the event for its successful approach. “These games provide an opportunity for children with asthma to participate in physical activity in a safe, supportive environment. It also helps their caretakers relax and see what these kids are capable of.”-ZB
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