CHILDREN’S ASTHMA PROJECT FOR SPORTS /CAPS/


The main driving force behind CAPS is Association “Dia-Sport” – one of the major objectives of which is creating conditions for sports activities in groups of persons affected by various chronic illnesses including asthma.

Brief overview
One of the major complaints that lung patients suffer from is dyspnea. This symptom makes physical exertion unpleasant, and patients often become sedentary. Behaviour of this type leads to a de-conditioning of the cardio-circulatory and muscular system which renders activity even more unpleasant, thus reinforcing the sedentary life style. This downward spiral can be interrupted by a regular program of progressive exercise which should be adapted to the type and severity of the pulmonary disease. In this context, the value of sport therapy in the treatment of asthma bronchiale can be redefined. Several studies published in the medical literature show that asthmatic subjects were less afraid of experiencing breathlessness during exercise and less anxious about exercising at a high intensity after several weeks of training. The asthma symptoms abate significantly during a rehabilitation program and subjects need less acute asthma care afterwards. The majority of findings indicate that asthmatic persons benefit from a rehabilitation period, including physical training. Rehabilitation programs are therefore of significant value as a supplement to conventional pharmacological treatment of asthma.

CAPS / Children’s Asthma Project for Sports / is an elaborate structure of social, sports and medical programs with an endpoint of helping children with allergic broncho-pulmonary disease to cope better with their condition.

Partners
· Medical Consultative Committee at the Medical University in Sofia
· National Committee of the Bulgarian Red Cross
· Committee for Physical Education and Sport
· Representative office of Glaxo Wellcome
· Sport’s club “Levski”, Sofia
· Ministry of Health
· Sport complex “Lozenetz”, Sofia

Goals
Inception phase
· To promote the benefits of engaging in sports activities to children and adolescents with asthma.
· To work out programs together with relevant medical specialists for the optimal training frequency, workload and conditioning of participants
· To engage governmental and non-government organizations in the procurement of sports equipment and access to appropriate facilities for all participants in the program.
Main phase
· To stimulate and maintain the motivation of children and adolescents with asthma and related disorders, to participate in regular sports activities
· To aid in the structured education of the participants with regard to the optimal treatment modalities of their condition.
· To engage governmental and non-government organizations in the upkeep of sports equipment and access to appropriate facilities

Activities
Specifically targeted activities are designed in order to engage actively the teens with asthma in various sports activities, including:
· swimming
· horse-back riding
· martial arts (Taekwon-do)
· tourism (Vitosha, Pirin, Rila mountains)
· remedial gymnastics (incl. fitness, aerobics)
· volleyball, basketball
· tennis (limited yearly from April until October due to availability)
· skiing (Vitosha mountain)


Patients with asthma can benefit most from swimming, tourism and gymnastics, but the belief of the organizers is that there should be no limitation imposed on the choice of sport by the children, as long as there are no specific medical counter-indications.
Training sessions are always carried out by a trainer along with a healthcare professional. All children are recruited after a thorough medical examination, resulting in a detailed diagnosis of their condition.
The project envisages organisation of a weekend, in which teenagers with asthma can invite a friend of the same sex without asthma to participate in a two-day retreat. This program is designed to encourage friends to take an active role in motivating the teen with asthma to perform his or her asthma-related tasks in a responsible manner. This will also help the better socialization of these patients.
The activities of the association are actively integrated with patient education (professional lecturers), presentation of medicines and therapeutic strategies.