“Despite having lived with asthma since I was a young boy, I have never let it get in the way of my life. I play sport regularly and have been lucky to make a career out of it!
"I don’t believe asthma should stop you from doing anything, especially now the medicines that are available can be so effective."
It was very frustrating as a child
"I’ve had asthma for as long as I can remember – and can recall having asthma attacks throughout my childhood.
"I remember gulping for air and feeling extremely distressed, although it was probably scarier for my family than it was for me."
"I mostly struggled in the summer months, as heat and pollen were – and still are – two of my main triggers. I found difficulty, particularly with freshly cut grass. The house I grew up in used to back onto to a large field and as soon as the big mowers were out, that was my cue to go inside. Just ten minutes running around near the freshly cut lawn would have me wheezing. I found it very frustrating as a child, sitting inside and watching my friends play outside.
"I continued to have asthma attacks into my teenage years and these could be pretty bad. People would be frightened and I would be sitting there, gasping for air. It was scary, but I just got on with life. When you’ve grown up with asthma, it just becomes part of you."
Things have changed since childhood
"I thought I would grow out of my asthma, but I never really did. However, it has changed since I got older: I manage it well and I haven’t had an asthma attack in a decade. I find I barely need to use my blue reliever inhaler now. Some of my triggers have changed too, although I still struggle with the heat and pollen. I played golf and cricket regularly, and the freshly cut grass hardly impacts me at all asthma-wise, although can result in irritable hay fever. I take an antihistamine every day during pollen season to keep it at bay and that seems to do the trick.
"It’s under control but I’m still very aware of my asthma. I took part in a charity football match about five years ago, on an extremely hot summer’s day and was playing on the wing. Halfway through I was red in the face and struggling to get full breaths. My wife screamed from the stand: ‘Have you taken your inhaler?’"
Not being able to breathe is one of the scariest things
"As a football commentator, I have been lucky that my asthma has never really impacted my career and I don’t find it restricts me. Thankfully cold air of the football terraces doesn’t affect my symptoms and I always carry my reliever inhaler around with me. Next year I will be going to Russia for the World Cup and of course, I will be taking it with me.
"I support Asthma + Lung UK because not being able to breathe is one of the scariest things a person can experience. My daughter has suspected asthma and she has a blue reliever inhaler and a brown preventer inhaler. She has never had an attack, but we keep them close by. We encourage her to take the brown one routinely and her school keep a spare reliever inhaler in case of an attack - which, touch wood, has never happened.
"Because of what I went through, I’d never want a child to grow up not being able to enjoy playing in the great outdoors or having to curtail sporting activities because of their asthma symptoms. Paul Scholes suffered from asthma and was a Man United and England legend – proof that asthma shouldn’t stop you from doing anything!”