Potential causes of rapid breathing

  1. Normal – post exertion.
  2. Pain or panic / anxiety.
  3. Chest wall or lung injuries.
  4. Other injuries – shock or blood loss.
  5. Medical problem, e.g. asthma.

Athletes may be breathing fast for many reasons, many of which do not suggest serious injury. This can make life difficult for the rescuer trying to assess breathing. However, players who are simply breathing fast after exercise or due to temporary pain will quickly settle back to normal over a couple of minutes. Panicking athletes will remain breathing fast, but some reassurance that help is on its way help them to try to stay calm.