Activities and sports for the child with haemophilia
Participation is important to build self-esteem and experience a sense of belonging for children with haemophilia. Physical activity is recommended, as exercise is important to maintain a healthy weight, and to develop muscle strength around the joints.
Children with haemophilia have a normal quality of life and can participate in a number of sporting activities. Skills based sporting activities are safe but protective equipment/clothing should be used where appropriate (i.e. shin pads for soccer and cricket). It is recommended that children with haemophilia should not play contact sports such as Football, AFL, Rugby boxing, karate, etc. Instead, appropriate non-contact sports are encouraged such as swimming, cycling, golf, tennis, softball, cricket, etc. For a comprehensive list of sports and risks please visit http://www.brucecalc.net/activity_categories.php
Remember these are normal children who should be encouraged to participate in all reasonable sports and activities as this is beneficial for their physical and psychosocial development.
Absenteeism may occur for some children if a bleeding episode is severe or rehabilitation is prolonged. Children usually should not miss more than 2-3 days due to a bleed, however they may need to attend their local hospital for follow-up care.
Return to childcare/school after a bleeding episode
Please discuss with parents if a child cannot participate in physical activities and when the child can participate again.
If a child returns to childcare/school with a colourful cast on, or with a limb bandaged, the following activities should be avoided:
- Swimming or water play(a bandage or cast cannot get wet)
- Jumping activities (includes hopping, high jump, long jump)
- Activities with sand (if sand makes its way inside the cast or bandage this can cause skin irritation and breakdown)
Other helpful hints
Children with haemophilia should be assigned classrooms on lower levels wherever possible. You should also consider whether a locker is available to store extra school books and decrease the amount of weight the child has to carry to/ from classes and school.
If a child has had a bleeding episode they may need to use crutches, slings or sometimes even a wheelchair upon returning to school. This may mean that the child will need more time to get to and from their classes.
Special issues for girls with haemophilia or symptomatic carriers
Girls may experience heavy bleeding with their menstrual cycle. This means that girls may need to be absent from school due to heavy bleeding and/or pain and they may need to leave the classroom frequently to change their tampon or pad.
Some students with haemophilia will receive regular preventative injections of factor replacement at home before attending school. This treatment provides them with some protection against joint and muscle bleeds.
Haematology and Haemophilia Service
Queensland Children’s Hospital
Level 5, 501 Stanley Street, South Brisbane
t: 07 3068 1111
In an emergency, always call 000.