It was revealed today that David Beckham has been suffering from asthma since childhood. The way it's been reported in some quarters you'd think his career as a footballer was some kind of triumph against all the odds! As someone who's also had asthma since childhood. I can say it's not something that's ever stopped me from taking up sports and leading a fairly active lifestyle.
Asthma has become increasingly more common in the last 25 years, so it's not really a surprise that more and more top sports stars have been revealed to have the condition.
What has slightly surprised me is the idea that asthma is some kind of barrier to sporting success. In the most extreme cases it's a very serious condition, but for most people it's perfectly manageable and doesn't have a huge impact on their lives.
My own asthma is quite mild, and I normally only use my inhaler at certain times during the year, or on occasions when I'm doing sport.
I suppose because its David Beckham, its reported as a major thing when really it isn't. I except that he's managed to play sport at a significantly higher level than myself.
I don't think my Birmingham under 15 and 16 Basketball championship medals quite compare with Beckhams countless league and cup triumphs with Man Utd and Real Madrid.
But having asthma certainly didn't hold me back in my own sporting efforts. I can proudly say I managed to become a black belt in Karate whilst growing up, and today I play badminton to a reasonably high standard.
Looking back to my childhood, having asthma almost made me take up more sports in order to remain fit and healthy. I was always one of those kids that did every sport going, so maybe in some ways asthma was a good thing. It made me take health and fitness more seriously then other people may have done. I certainly don't ever remember thinking or being told I couldn't do something because of it.
If Beckham is seen as a role model for youngsters with asthma then great, but kids just need to be told to carry on doing what they want to do, as there's no reason why asthma should stop them.