The process of controlling Burks’ asthma is apparently still a work in process, considering the amount of time he’s spent on the practice field compared to his Titans teammates.
But there are reasons for optimism.
One is as simple as the change of seasons, as the eventual arrival of cooler months this fall will lessen the pollen count, with the first frost really bringing a hammer to the allergens.
Second is the matter of Burks’ track record at Arkansas. He couldn’t have been too adversely impacted by asthma in college, as Burks played in 32 of 34 regular-season games over three years – missing one game with a knee injury and the other with reported concussion concerns.
“Since he didn’t have trouble at Arkansas, there’s a good chance he won’t have trouble with the Titans,” Peebles said. “If I had to bet, the greatest predictor of future outcome is the past, right? So, if he played every game at Arkansas (during his final season) and he was performing at a high level … then most likely, he’s never going to have problems when the (NFL) season starts.”
Third and probably most important is the availability of short and long-term asthma medicines – such as inhalers, like the one Burks was seen using during the first day of rookie minicamp. Many deliver varying degrees of something called beta-agonists, which can relax muscles around the airways that might tighten during an asthma attack. In addition, preventive medications such as corticosteroids, used regularly, can reduce or eliminate asthma attacks.
That line of reasoning may allow Titans fans to breathe a little easier.
“I think it all comes down to how well he’s managed and controlled,” Parikh said. “Given that he’s an NFL athlete, I would think he has access to some of the best medical physicians and professionals.
“With that in mind, I don’t think it should limit him long-term. Many athletes live with asthma. The key is getting it properly managed.”