Asthma Team

Patrick M.

Hamline University

Asthma made me who I am today. It pushed me to be the best and got the best out of me.

My journey with Asthma!

I was born with bronchitis that quickly built up and became asthma. I received frequent reminders from my mom, that I wasn’t like my other brother and sister. She assumed that I was fragile. Since I can remember growing up, I wasn’t even allowed to go play outside. Born and raised in Cameroon, Africa, where the weather is almost 75 F/24 C and humid the whole year around, the whole year was a bad season for me. I have always loved sports and grew up around it.

My brothers were involved in the soccer and basketball and my sister was involved in the tennis and hand ball team. And at the time, I could only be a spectator. My mom wouldn’t let me go outside without a huge sweat shirt no matter what the season, she was always scared something was going to happen to me, and that nobody was going to be around to assist me. One day, my brothers were playing soccer outside and my parents were out running some errand. I decided to go outside and join my brothers, who told me that it was a bad idea, but I didn’t listen, telling them that I was sick of seen them having fun without me being part of it. It felt so good! For the first time I felt free.

But the truth always catches up to you one time or another. My brothers and I were going to keep it a secret that I played outside. Nothing happened while we were playing, so I thought by some miracle, I was healed or something. The same night, while I was sleeping, I stopped breathing, and at that time, I just thought that was payback, for keeping my adventure a secret. I was taken to the emergency room. After my recovery, my mom was so mad at me, she was crying, and was really upset because I never listen to her when she was telling how fragile I was.

As I grew up, I started taking things slowly, and my mom started letting go a little bit at the time. I went to high school, played basketball, soccer and tennis. Not being able to enjoy sports in my earlier years, made me so competitive! I always want to win and be first.

When I moved to the US in 2002, I spent two years at De La Salle High School. In 2004, I was admitted to Hamline University, which was a new beginning for me. I pushed myself in high school when I was playing sport, and after a while, I was able to take fewer puffs of my inhaler. Then I realized that I wanted to play American football, something I never played before! Some of my teachers from high school told me I was crazy, that I wasn’t going to make it. My mom was totally against it as well. She kept telling me that I was doing great, that I should just stay away from it, first because it was violent, and secondly because it takes a lot of energy, and that my asthma could even get worse. I didn’t listen as always, and kept telling myself if I put my mind into something I could do it. So I pushed myself so hard that at the point my sophomore year I passed out at practice. The coach kept asking me if I felt okay, and I kept telling him yes. I was playing defensive line and I could barely stay in my stances, and it was so hard for me to breathe, but I kept telling myself that I wasn’t the only one who was tired, that everyone else was too, so I though it wasn’t a big deal, then all the sudden I just passed out. That year was my worse year of being an asthmatic and I remember that my coach, who knew about my condition, always took me out of practice to take a break, but I always felt like it wasn’t fair for my teammates and for me because I was trying to make it to the varsity team.

My freshman and sophomore year, I played in 3 games all together. In the summer of my sophomore year, I exercised a lot, conditioned myself, and got to know my limits. My junior and senior year, I came out strong and started all games at defensive end, and also on top of that, was also doing indoor and outdoor track, getting 6th place my junior and 4th place my senior year in the MIAC indoor conference in the competition of the 35lb Weight throw.

When I look back, I used to wish that I didn’t have asthma, now, I see things differently. It made me who I am today. It pushed me to be the best and got the best out of me. It helped me not to take things for granted, especially my health.

Asthma is not a deterrent to playing sports, just be sure to have your medication with or around you, and everything is going to be fine, and also get to know your body because nobody can’t know it better than you!!