My 13 year old son, Will, had an Endoscopy today. It confirmed that the tracheomalacia which I was told he would outgrow is still present. He played football this past year. He hopes to play again next year. Will this prevent that?

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Jane - posted on 01/19/2012

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Most babies do outgrow tracheomalacia before they turn two. A few people continue to have it throughout their lives. Your son apparently is one of the unlucky few. More commonly in adults it is the result of frequent infections or other conditions.



I think you really need to ask the doctor about your son playing football, because the degree of "floppiness" and how much of the trachea is affected will control how much breathing difficulty results. I suspect the answer might be no, or at least a guarded yes.



People with tracheomalacia often have trouble breathing. That does not seem to me to be a trait that would be helpful to a football player. Sometimes, however, if it isn't severe, the person can play sports as long as 1) the coach knows about the condition and understands the ramifications, and 2) the player stops playing if he/she develops breathing problems such as shortness of breath, wheezing, or loud breathing sounds.



There are some surgeries that have been used to help people with tracheomalacia. Also, some adults eventually opt for a CPAP machine to help when they sleep. Adults with tracheomalacia have a higher risk of aspiration pneumonia.

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