View Full Version : Bettis Helps Local Children Tackle Asthma

06-24-2009, 09:34 PM
Bettis Helps Local Children Tackle Asthma
Dr. Maria Simbra

Former Steelers running back Jerome Bettis battled asthma as a professional athlete and now he has begun a summer sports camp for asthmatic children.

Every day Bettis deals with asthma, a condition in which the airways of the lungs squeeze down, making it hard to breathe something he's experienced himself during a game.

"I liken an asthma attack to someone putting a plastic bag over your head and not allowing you to breathe, it's that scary a situation," he explains. "After that moment, I said, 'You know what? I need to make sure people know about asthma, and that it can kill you.' And at that point, I started my crusade."

He realizes a child with asthma might get discouraged about taking part in sports. So it seems fitting for him to make the announcement of a special camp for these children.

"This camp is just a start of something really big in the community," the former running back said. "Hopefully everyone can come out and see it, have fun. It's gonna be fun for the kids, but it's gonna be informative as well."

At the camp, there will be sports football drills with Jerome Bettis and the Pittsburgh Passion and soccer with the Riverhounds. And there will be education in a fun way.

"So it will be asthma bingo, asthma jeopardy, games to promote education," said Dr. Shean Aujla, an asthma specialist at Children's Hospital.

Ten doctors will be on hand for any emergencies.

"We're hoping there isn't going to be any issue, but we're prepared," she said.

Julia Kriss, a 9-year-old gymnast from Monroeville, has to take medicine before every practice. She's excited for the camp.

"I wouldn't feel like I was the only one, the only kid with asthma," Kriss says.

Bettis says the hope for the camp is to encourage the kids to achieve all of their goals

"I really want to show these kids, that you know what, don't stop dreaming, don't stop hoping, don't stop reaching for the stars, because it's possible," says Bettis, "as long as you understand what it is you're dealing with, as long as you manage the asthma."

This particular day camp will be on July 7th and 8th at Duquesne University. It is free, but participants must register and provide information about the child's medical history.

The camp is a joined effort between Children's Hospital, the Jerome Bettis Bus Stops Here Foundation and the American Respiratory Alliance.

Pennsylvania has several other asthma camps across the state everything from day, overnight, weekend, and retreat-style camps to baseball and golf camps.

( MMIX, CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved.)

Galax Steeler
06-25-2009, 03:41 AM
Way to go Bettis you are a class act.

06-25-2009, 05:00 AM
As someone with asthma that played sports for YEARS, I think this is very cool.

Many people don't understand what it does, and how it affects each person very differently.

06-25-2009, 05:23 AM
Asthma hasn't stopped me, either...... a doctor told me once that I have an amazing lung capacity for an asthmatic. It's still a scary feeling.

06-25-2009, 09:09 AM
Huge props to The Bus for his hard work and dedication to making people aware of how debilitating and frightening asthma can be, but that those who are afflicted with it CAN and most often DO lead normal lives. :drink: :hatsoff:

06-25-2009, 03:28 PM
Not surprising at all...The Bus is a class act!

06-25-2009, 05:22 PM
Brings back some memories...