Safety, Sports and Activity Limits

Published on in Beyond Blood

Physical activity and sports have significant benefits related to physical fitness, healthy weight maintenance and social development. For children and adolescents with bleeding and clotting disorders (who may be on anticoagulation therapy), picking a sport requires special consideration to maintain these healthy benefits while minimizing risks of bleeding.

In the HTC, we have the expertise to educate families on risk reduction and management for patients on anticoagulants and those with bleeding disorders. The sports recommendations and activity limits we give to patients in the HTC are to keep them safe. The major connection between these two groups is their shared increased risk for bleeding — a risk that significantly increases with trauma.

Trauma is a recognized feature of high impact and contact sports, such as baseball, basketball, boxing, cheerleading, football, gymnastics, hockey (field, ice and street), karate, lacrosse, motor cross racing, power weight lifting, rock climbing (natural setting), trampoline, soccer, skiing and wrestling. Other off-the-field activities also carry high risk for trauma. Patients should not participate in bungee jumping, scuba diving, sky diving and many rides at amusement parks.

But that doesn’t mean kids can’t be active. They can participate in activities, such as cycling, running, swimming, art, dance, music, theater, and other school and community extracurricular activities.

We understand that our patients and their families may have a psychological and emotional response to the restrictions. For families with a tradition of participating in what is now a banned sport, it is truly a loss and it will take time to adjust to the new reality. HTC staff can assist families in finding counseling to help deal with the change.

We encourage children to participate in the permitted activities and hope their families will be supportive of their choices.

Contributed by: Marilyn S. Blumenstein, MSN, CRNP