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Sports Games for children
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Sports Games for children with asthma in the age 12 - 16 from June 13-20, 2013 at Krimml Salzburg county, Austria

Sports Games for children with allergies and asthma around the globe: plenty of exercise and a healing waterfall
The Global Allergy and Asthma Patient Platform invites young people with allergies and asthma from around the globe to the "Sports Games" being staged near the Krimml Waterfalls in the Austrian province of Salzburg. This event is intended as a signal that children and adolescents with allergies and asthma can be active athletes and that exercise is good for them and can alleviate the effects of their illnesses. In addition, the young visitors will also profit from the scientifically proven palliative effects of the internationally known waterfalls. Information on the Sports Games (13 to 20 June 2013) can be found at www.ga2p2.org.

Krimml/Vienna (Austria), Wednesday 6 February 2013 – In an ideal atmosphere for people with allergies and asthma, young people from around the globe can find out that their condition need not prevent them from seriously pursuing sports. Dr. Antje Henriette Fink-Wagner, Executive Director of the Global Allergy and Asthma Patient Platform (GAAPP), an umbrella organization for the international coordination of self-help groups and patients’ initiatives: “The Krimml Waterfalls in the Austrian province of Salzburgare beneficial for people suffering from these diseases and have a scientifically proven palliative effect.”
GAAPP President Dr. Natalio Salmún (Argentina) explained further: “We invite delegations each made up of at most 12 children aged 12 to 14 and three accompanying adults per country to attend the Sports Games and offer a variety of different sports. They range from track and field to swimming to basketball, volleyball and football. Peak performances are definitely not the object. The message is to show the kids that they can be active in sports even if they have allergies and asthma and that it will be good for their health if they are.”

High level of physical fitness has positive effects on asthma
Studies have shown that a high level of physical fitness has a favorable effect on asthma. Sport physician and pulmonologist University Professor Dr Paul Haber (Vienna): “Regular workouts improve the function of the lungs in everyone. The stimulus threshold for the onset of an asthma attack also rises for asthma sufferers.”
Children and adolescents stay in hotels in Krimml and visit the waterfalls. The Sports Games take place in nearby Mittersill. The Sports Games will be held from 13 to 20 June 2013. Register with the member organizations of GAAPP by 18 February 2013.

Krimml Waterfalls have direct positive effects on the respiratory tract
This region was selected because visits to the Krimml Waterfalls situated at 380 meters above sea level—the fifth highest falls in the world—have been shown to have direct positive effects on the respiratory tract. That is because of the fine misty spray the waterfalls create plunging from a great height. Up to 70,000 negatively charged oxygen ions per cubic meter are measured in the air directly around the waterfall; in other places, the air has about 300 to 3000 ions depending on the location. Dr. Arnulf Hartl, assistant professor at Paracelsus Medical University in Salzburg, explained: “These so-called light-air ions have a positive effect on the function of the lungs and reduce susceptibility to attacks in allergy and asthma sufferers. The ions build up on drops of water. They release their charge to the mucous membranes, thereby accelerating the speed at which the cilia move. The cleaning effect is much greater as a result, particularly for the nasal mucous membrane.” (Sources: Journal of Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics, 2012: Characterization of Ions at Alpine Waterfalls; Journal of Asthma, 2012: Effects of Ionized Waterfall Aerosol on Pediatric Allergic Asthma)
Even a short visit to the waterfall of just six minutes has an effect. The Paracelsus Medical University in Salzburg conducted a randomized, controlled clinical parallel group study involving 54 young asthma sufferers with cases of asthma ranging from light to medium serious. The study showed that regular visits to the waterfall leads to a lasting reduction of exhaled nitrogen oxide NO. The control group also pursued sports at a high elevation but did not visit the waterfall. Their NO initially fell by 60 percent but then rose at a faster pace following their stay at a high elevation. NO is an important measure of the allergic inflammation of the lungs.

Umbrella organization for global coordination of self-help groups and patients’ initiatives
GAAPP – the Global Allergy and Asthma Patient Platform – was founded in 2011 as the umbrella organization for the global coordination of self-help groups and patients' initiatives. The headquarters of GAAPP is in Vienna, Austria. The goal of the organization is to lend a stronger voice to the people affected by these diseases and their needs. GAAPP promotes cooperation with government and health institutions. GAAPP is an advocate for patients and their needs in all countries, particularly in so-called emerging countries. It fights to guarantee best practice therapies and the right of allergy and asthma patients to live in clean air.

MISSION OF THE GAMES

You might remember a time when kids with asthma were discouraged from playing sports and told to take it easy. That's no longer the case. Being active, working out, and playing sports not only help kids with asthma stay fit, maintain a healthy weight, and have fun but also can strengthen their breathing muscles and help the lungs work better.

The aims of the games are
  • to gather child athletes with asthma from all over the globe to participate competitively in various disciplines, especially in track and field, swimming, basketball, volleyball, soccer (football) and others.
  • to encourage child athletes with asthma between 14 and 16 years of age to participate in all sporting activities to the level of their exceptional talents.
  • to show children and the society all over the world that appropriate medical support for children with asthma help them to live a normal life. They can — and should — be active and play sports just like anyone else.
  • to educate both those with asthma and those without, that asthma is not a barrier to anyone wishing to fulfil his or her potential in the athletic world.