Breathe Easy, Play Hard,

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Asthma has a new line up as top athletes get behind an innovative asthma awareness initiative called Breathe Easy Play Hard.

Asthma has a new line up as top athletes get behind an innovative asthma awareness initiative called Breathe Easy Play Hard. Created by renowned pediatric pulmonologist Dr. Janis Schaeffer, Breathe Easy Play Hard is rooted in a website designed to inform and inspire children and teens with asthma. It teaches kids and their caregivers that an athlete with asthma is not an oxymoron. The comprehensive website, and a PSA campaign featuring members of the New York Rangers launched earlier today.

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In the coming weeks, a series of events at Madison Square Garden with the New York Knicks, Liberty and Rangers will shine a spotlight on prominent figures with asthma, who are at the top of their game.

"We want kids with asthma to know they can get active and stay active," said Dr. Schaeffer. "The most important thing to understand is that once evaluated, diagnosed and properly treated, asthma is not an impediment! In my two decades treating children and teens, I have been frustrated by the fact that it often takes years of pediatrician visits, school absences and worst of all, limited activity before a child is referred to a pulmonologist. Breathe Easy Play Hard is a powerful awareness campaign that explains how to recognize the signs and symptoms of asthma, treat the condition, and get kids to play and stay in the game. Parents and coaches need to know we can bench asthma, not the child."

The incidence of asthma has been steadily increasing and the condition, which results from inflammation and constriction of the airways, currently affects at least 1 in 10 children in the U.S. It is estimated that asthma is responsible for 12 million school absences a year. Inadequate recognition of symptoms and lack of treatment deprive kids of exercise and its many long-term health and psychological benefits. But the good news is that with proper treatment, kids with asthma can Breathe Easy and Play Hard!

To achieve its educational and inspirational goals, Breathe Easy Play Hard offers a unique website highlighting many professional athletes, Olympians, entertainers, prominent historical figures, and ordinary kids with asthma that have achieved greatness. The program also features an outreach lecture series geared towards school and sports professionals, televised public service announcements and yearly events with prominent athletes and others. No child with asthma has to sit on the sideline.

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