Spirometry and airway reactivity in elite track and field athletes

Robert B. Schoene, Kevin Giboney, Carmel Schimmel, James Hagen, Jane Robinson, R. Blair Schoene, Wayne Sato, Kent N. Sullivan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

25 Scopus citations


Objectives: To characterize spirometry and to document the incidence of exercise-induced bronchospasm (EIB) during competition in elite track and field athletes. Design: Spirometry was performed in 120 men and 69 women athletes before competition and peak expiratory flows in 50 men and 23 women athletes before and after competition. Setting: The 1991 (Randalls Island, NY, U.S.A.) and the 1993 (Eugene, OR, U.S.A.) National Track and Field Championships (World Championship team-qualifying meet). Participants: American track and field athletes who met World Championship qualifying standards. Measurements: Spirometry (Cybermedic, Inc., Boulder, CO, U.S.A.) and peak expiratory flows (Personal Best, Health scan Products, Cedar Grove, NJ, U.S.A.) - the best of three reproducible efforts. Results: Male sprinters had lower vital capacities than other track athletes, whereas both male and female field (throwing) athletes had larger vital capacities than both runners and other field athletes. Decreases of 10% peak expiratory flows were found in 10% of men and 26% of women track athletes within 15 min after competition. The incidence was higher in longer distance events. Most participants did not have a history of asthma. Conclusions: A higher-than-expected prevalence of EIB was found in high-level track athletes. The results suggest that spirometry and/or peak flows should be measured in track athletes because small decreases in airflow may impair training or performance, a condition that is easily treated.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)257-261
Number of pages5
JournalClinical Journal of Sport Medicine
Issue number4
StatePublished - Oct 1997
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine
  • Physical Therapy, Sports Therapy and Rehabilitation


  • Asthma
  • Athletics
  • Bronchospasm
  • Exercise
  • Spirometry

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