Thal Minor Competitive Young Swimmer

  • 13 Replies
  • 15224 Views
Thal Minor Competitive Young Swimmer
« on: July 01, 2012, 12:01:18 AM »
Hi,

I have known that I have thal minor most of my life.  Unfortunately so does my daughter.  I was not athletic as a child I have always felt that I was not fit because I did not work hard enough to over come issues I had with fatigue.  My mother also dwelled on the Thal issue...saying of course I couldn't do that.....  I learned as I got older that ignoring it was the best solution.

I have tried to help my daughter be physically fit and athletic.  Being physically fit as a child will help her all through her life.  I want to give her the confidence and physiological benefits of being fit.  She is very fit at this point and is a competitive swimmer.  I have noticed that certain situations at meets really take a toll on her and impact her more negatively than the other girls.  I am wondering if her Thal may have something to do with it.   

She is 9 and as I said extremely fit, all muscle.  She attends swim practice 4 times a week and competes regularly.  I have noticed that when it is really hot or when the meet moves too quickly not giving her time to recover between races she does not do as well.  She also does not do well when she has preliminaries and then finals in the same day.

She loves the sport and wants to do well.  She is ranked in the top 10 or 20 for her age group in the state in nearly all events.   

My question is, how can I ensure that she is able to perform her best as often as possible?  I do not want to do what my mother did and use Thal as an excuse.   I want to teach her what she needs to do to consistently perform her best.

Any advice on what she should and shouldn't eat the day before, supplements, rest, what she should eat or not eat during the meet, what she should be drinking, what she should be doing during the meet, etc.

Not being athletic I am not sure what would have worked for me so any help would be greatly appreciated.  I have not ever told her that maybe she is tired because of a blood condition.  She has no idea that Thal may be a factor in her performance.

I am not trying to make her a world class athlete.  I just want her to be able to perform as best as she can.  I don't want her to get discouraged and think that her hard work does not pay off.

Thanks for your help.  I apologize for the length of the post.
 




Re: Thal Minor Competitive Young Swimmer
« Reply #1 on: July 01, 2012, 05:56:50 PM »
Hi there,
   I'm a new member to this forum too and in no way am I qualified to suggest what suppliments your daughter should be taking; I'll leave that to the senior members but I totally understand where you're coming from! I'm 41, diagnosed with thal minor when I was 12. I always suffered with tiredness and was never very athletic. I started running about 7 years ago which helped with my dizzy spells and migraines which I attributed to my thal but my lethargy was worse than ever and I never seemed to be able to improve my times. I started taking folic acid as suggested on the forum and bingo I'm a new woman. Loads of energy, minor injuries healing up after months and I've just completed a half marathon and a fun run in my fastest times ever. I wish I'd known that taking folic acid when I was a teen would help so much because it would've made so much difference to the quality of my life. I suspect my youngest son has Thal too but my doctors won't test him as no treatment is recommended in the UK for thal minor. He is a typical wimpy kid (not being cruel or anything!) and tired all the time. I've just started him on folic acid so we'll see. Good luck and I hope daughter does well with her swimming.

Re: Thal Minor Competitive Young Swimmer
« Reply #2 on: July 04, 2012, 04:57:56 AM »
Hi

My daughter is an exceptional field hockey player (aged 12) with Beta Thal Minor.  Everytime she is selected to travel to multi day events with multiple games per day she crashes and burns whereas all the other girls manage to get through ok.  They have to end up subbing my daughter off the field for over half a game. The other girls start to talk about her behind her back as they think she is being lazy.

So now I am very strict with what she eats at these events and I give her small amounts often (nuts, fruits, egg and small sandwiches)  I only give her water to drink and she's not allowed any of the half time game lollies (she loves me for that!).  Then after her last game she is allowed fairy floss to make up for it.  The coaches are now also all aware so she will play off for 15 mins for each game.   When she fades she goes pale, starts getting confused and finds it hard to breath, she also starts to stagger when she tries to run. Since we've put these measures in place she has done well.

Not sure how you can sub a swimmer though :)


Re: Thal Minor Competitive Young Swimmer
« Reply #3 on: July 04, 2012, 02:43:55 PM »
Thanks for the reply.  It is helpful to hear others see the same thing in their young athlete.  It is really hard when we are talking about children.   Does your daughter know that she has Thalassemia?  If so, how does it impact her?  Do you give her supplements?

For swimming I can control what events I put her in in most meets and I know now to expect that she will do better in the first events rather than the later events.  However, we don't always know how fast the meet will move through events.  I have also decided that I need to take more control over what she does while she is waiting. 

Too make things worse, my daughter has decided she wants to be a distance swimmer, she does well as long as she is well rested.  I am avoiding telling her that she is "different" than the other kids.  She believes that if she continues to work hard she will be the best.  She believes that she does best in distance events.

I only have her drink water too during meets.  I keep wondering if I should look into some of the energy drinks but they seem to have a lot of sugar which we also avoid from a day or two prior to the meet until after.  She seems to understand that sugar is not good for her.

I try for protein during the meet, I am not sure if that is what is best or if fruit would be good.  I also started having her take few deep breaths while she is waiting at the blocks for her race to come up and then again after she finishes. 

As the previous responder said, I think folic acid would be good but I am not sure how much.  It is in her multi vitamin so I am not sure if I should add more.  Iron is also in her multi vitamin which I prefer was not there.  I am considering eliminating the multi vitamin and giving her individual supplements.  I just don't know what would be best for her age and size.  She is a slender, muscular 9 year old.

Thanks again for those that offered their experience!

*

Offline Andy Battaglia

  • *****
  • 8793
  • Gender: Male
  • Will thal rule you or will you rule thal?
Re: Thal Minor Competitive Young Swimmer
« Reply #4 on: July 04, 2012, 03:34:27 PM »
At her age, 400-800 mcg folic acid daily should suffice. If you want to go the individual supplement route, in addition to folic acid, add B Complex, natural vitamin E and magnesium, all intended to help production and increase the lifespan of red blood cells. Eliminating empty calories is an excellent strategy. I find thal minors do best when diet is nutritious and junk foods are kept to a minimum. Understanding that the lower oxygen supply of thal minor does place limits on physical endurance and adjusting for this, just as you are doing is the best policy. Coaches should always be aware that the lower hemoglobin level does mean that allowances must be made in terms of endurance and the child should never be pressured to overexert. The oxygen carrying capacity of the blood is not the same as for non-thals and this should be accounted for, but never criticized, as all anemias do place some limit on activity. Nonetheless, there is no reason minors cannot compete as long as everyone is on the same page.
Andy

All we are saying is give thals a chance.

Re: Thal Minor Competitive Young Swimmer
« Reply #5 on: July 04, 2012, 04:38:53 PM »
Thanks for the reply. 

What would be the signs of over excursion for someone her age?

*

Offline Bobby

  • ***
  • 156
  • Gender: Male
Re: Re: Thal Minor Competitive Young Swimmer
« Reply #6 on: July 05, 2012, 01:56:57 AM »
I've played sports for a lot of my childhood and adult life and over exertion is something don't know I've done until after the event is over. Usually the next day I'll have headaches and really bad muscle fatigue. The best part is with the exception of one time I've always recovered over the course of a couple days. The one time was a new event that I had never done before. It did require a transfusion to bring my hgb from 6.9 to 11.

It sounds like you are very concerned and well ahead of the curve when it come to diet and nutrition, so I'm sure you'll know right away if she needs a break or rest. Good Luck!

Re: Thal Minor Competitive Young Swimmer
« Reply #7 on: September 18, 2014, 04:20:08 AM »
At her age, 400-800 mcg folic acid daily should suffice. If you want to go the individual supplement route, in addition to folic acid, add B Complex, natural vitamin E and magnesium, all intended to help production and increase the lifespan of red blood cells. Eliminating empty calories is an excellent strategy. I find thal minors do best when diet is nutritious and junk foods are kept to a minimum. Understanding that the lower oxygen supply of thal minor does place limits on physical endurance and adjusting for this, just as you are doing is the best policy. Coaches should always be aware that the lower hemoglobin level does mean that allowances must be made in terms of endurance and the child should never be pressured to overexert. The oxygen carrying capacity of the blood is not the same as for non-thals and this should be accounted for, but never criticized, as all anemias do place some limit on activity. Nonetheless, there is no reason minors cannot compete as long as everyone is on the same page.

Hello Andy and all our Thal friends.

This is my first post. I am so grateful that I have found this wonderful forum. I look forward in ongoing participation.

I have been reading various posts and can relate to most of them. I am a Thal minor (beta thal trait). I am 50 yo female and have managed to live with Thal minor and have not really had major issues. However we found out recently that our 8.5 year old daughter (only child) is also Thal minor and started to research information re nutrition and sport for Thal minors.

I can directly relate to the post from member “werthal” as our daughter too is a swimmer and swims 3 to 4 days a week in training squads and quite often competes on the weekends. She is a fantastic swimmer for her age but as werthal’s situation she does perform better at the beginning of an event rather than the end. She loves the sport and her dream is to one day compete in the Olympics.
We of course will try our best as parents to assist her achieving her dream but we also realise that she is going to be challenged with this genetic disorder. We are hopeful that information from this forum and other sources will enable us to manage her performance for a better result and give her a better quality of life overall.
 
Andy, from a number of your posts I was able to gather information and sourced/purchased the following vitamins and supplements:

Vitamins:
•   Folic Acid,
•   B complex (150s)
•   Vitamin C
•   Natural E
•   Magnesium + calsium + D3
•   CoQ10

Amino Acids (nitric oxide booster):
•   AAKG L-ARGININE Alpha Ketogluterate Powder
•   L-CITRULLINE MALATE Powder

Superfoods - Food supplement powders (made from vegetables/grasses etc.):
•   Organic Wheatgrass powder
•   Organic Spirulina powder
•   Organic Chlorella powder
•   Organic Barley Grass powder

Andy, in your posts you have mentioned all the above vitamins, nitric oxide booster and Wheatgrass. I don’t think I found a post re Spirulina, Chlorella or Barley Grass. Perhaps you may be able to advise here as most of these “super foods” are also high levels of iron especially Chlorella. Among many other good elements, Chlorella is one of the highest in iron; is that an issue for Thal minors?

Andy, (and of course our other friends) could you please advise on:

1 – above supplements for myself (50yo female with Thal minor)
2 – above supplements for my daughter (very fit, very active Thal minor 8.5yo female swimmer)
3– Advise when to take supplements
4 – Advise the dosage levels for both myself and my daughter.
5 – Any other recommendations

Apologies for the long post and thank you all in advance.

Cheers - Sofie
« Last Edit: September 25, 2014, 11:12:24 PM by Sofie »

Re: Thal Minor Competitive Young Swimmer
« Reply #8 on: September 27, 2014, 04:12:41 AM »
Hi Andy,
Any comments/recommendations?

*

Offline Andy Battaglia

  • *****
  • 8793
  • Gender: Male
  • Will thal rule you or will you rule thal?
Re: Thal Minor Competitive Young Swimmer
« Reply #9 on: September 30, 2014, 02:15:35 AM »
Sofie,

Recommendations for supplements and dosages are given in the thread at http://www.thalassemiapatientsandfriends.com/index.php/topic,4890.msg46774.html#msg46774
Your child could take half doses of the supplements.

Don't try taking everything. Many are simply redundant. The other green formulas are also good, so it gives you flexibility in what you choose to use. If using wheatgrass powder or tabs. look for Kamut grass if possible, as it is a non-hybrid wheat. Thal minors should not be concerned about iron, other than iron supplements, themselves. Excessive iron absorption in minors is not common at all. The problem arises when doctors prescribe supplements, that won't help unless iron deficiency is also present. The amount of iron in foods and green supplements should be of no concern.

It is very important that thal minors recognize their physical limitations concerning endurance. The anemia does mean a lower ability to carry oxygen and this does cause limits. Good breathing techniques and proper pacing can help.
Andy

All we are saying is give thals a chance.

Re: Thal Minor Competitive Young Swimmer
« Reply #10 on: September 30, 2014, 01:31:28 PM »
Out of personal experience I agree with taking chlorella and wheatgrass (but mostly chlorella). It helps to add more oxygen (chlorophyll) to the body as well as natural iron. I can do so much more tasks if I take the chlorella, then without it. I sincerely hope your daughter is able to compete and excell at a high level and she shouldn't give up because of thal, but still remember that the children do have an invisible condition which causes their bodies to wear out more easily then others. I also tried physically to compete with others which only caused more stress in the long run. So please see the knowledge of knowing that they have thal as an advantage for them to know they have to take better care for their bodies and listen to fatigue signs.
Nobody is allergic to happiness and laughter. We just got to make sure everyone is able to enjoy it once in a while.

Re: Thal Minor Competitive Young Swimmer
« Reply #11 on: October 01, 2014, 12:50:13 PM »
Thank you Bluebird and Andy,

Great advice.
Already after two to three weeks of taking in the advice in this forum and supplementing good nutritional food with vitamins and wheatgrass, both my daughter and I feel much much better.

I will work with the coaches and make sure that her training regime takes into account recovery times and plan out training and competition sessions.

At this stage we have not told our daughter that she is Thal minor. She is only 8.5 yo and we feel that she is too young to fully understand the significance of it all. Not sure when it would be the right time to bring her into the picture. There is also the thought that if she thinks that she is somewhat disadvantaged compared to other children, it may have a negative psychological effect. I guess this may be a good subject matter to have a separate forum discussion. "At what age do you inform your child in competitive sport that he or she is Thal minor and what it’s all about?"

Cheers and many thanks once again – Sofie
 

*

Offline Andy Battaglia

  • *****
  • 8793
  • Gender: Male
  • Will thal rule you or will you rule thal?
Re: Thal Minor Competitive Young Swimmer
« Reply #12 on: October 04, 2014, 03:16:37 AM »
Just for some perspective on what some thal minors can accomplish, tennis legend Pete Sampras and football (soccer) star Zinedine Zidane are both thal minors.
Andy

All we are saying is give thals a chance.

*

Offline VB

  • *
  • 19
Re: Thal Minor Competitive Young Swimmer
« Reply #13 on: July 03, 2023, 04:25:38 AM »
hi Sofie,

Excellent post. Could you advise how you and your daughter are doing on these supplements ? specially wheatgrass, spirulina and chlorella ? thanks.

Thank you Bluebird and Andy,

Great advice.
Already after two to three weeks of taking in the advice in this forum and supplementing good nutritional food with vitamins and wheatgrass, both my daughter and I feel much much better.

I will work with the coaches and make sure that her training regime takes into account recovery times and plan out training and competition sessions.

At this stage we have not told our daughter that she is Thal minor. She is only 8.5 yo and we feel that she is too young to fully understand the significance of it all. Not sure when it would be the right time to bring her into the picture. There is also the thought that if she thinks that she is somewhat disadvantaged compared to other children, it may have a negative psychological effect. I guess this may be a good subject matter to have a separate forum discussion. "At what age do you inform your child in competitive sport that he or she is Thal minor and what it’s all about?"

Cheers and many thanks once again – Sofie
 

 

SMF spam blocked by CleanTalk