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Asthma is only a minor problem for O'Shea

Manchester United star John O’Shea has revealed how asthma nearly ended his Old Trafford dream. The 28-year-old Manchester United and Republic of Ireland star who has been out for most of the season from a freak leg injury that he suffered in the France v Ireland game in Paris last year, admitted that his football career nearly ended before it began.

O’Shea is one of half a million asthma sufferers in the Republic and revealed his battle with the disorder on RTE’s Health Of The Nation show last night. The condition is responsible for around 80 deaths a year as people with severe attacks stop breathing.

The defender admitted that at one stage he was worried that his asthma problem might impact on his career prospects. Pulling out an inhaler and taking a puff in front of his teammates before a game was a little unsettling at first but it was something that he simply had to get over.

O’Shea went on to play in every position for United including a brief appearance as an emergency goalkeeper in a match against Tottenham when Edwin Van der Sar was forced off the field with a broken nose after United had already used all three subs. During that time he denied his Republic of Ireland teammate Robbie Keane a goal with a save a few minutes before full time.

The Republic has the highest level of asthma in Europe and the fourth highest in the world. O’Shea managed to become a finely tuned athlete despite the condition, helped by medical professionals at Manchester United. He celebrated his 350th appearance for the club by scoring his first league goal in over two years against Stoke City last September.

Although there were times when his asthma kept O’Shea out of games his strong advice to children is never to be ashamed of using the inhalers which are only there to keep asthma under control.

Where you aware that many top athletes suffer with asthma?

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