This information is not intended as medical advice. Before commencing any sporting activity, please consult your haemophilia treatment centre.
While there is no doubt that sport and exercise are associated with a wide range of benefits, they do also carry some risks – especially for people with haemophilia. However, the good news is that there are plenty of things you can do to help minimise these risks. Your Haemophilia Treatment Centre should be able to help you participate in your chosen sport while minimising risks, and it’s also a good idea to talk to your coach, if you have one, about your condition.
If you receive clotting factor replacement therapy to prevent bleeding, one of the most important ways you can reduce your risk of injury is to ensure that participation in sport takes place soon after your treatment has been administered. This will mean that clotting factor levels are at their peak, helping to reduce your risk of having a bleed.
Other ways to help reduce your risk of injury include ensuring that you:
- Have properly-fitted safety equipment specific to your sport. This might include shin pads, a helmet or a mouth guard.
- Wear the right kind of shoe for your chosen sport or activity. Trainers should have a good shock-absorbing pad under the heel and adequate arch support. Shoes with good ankle support are a good idea if you are walking on uneven surfaces such as in the bush.
- Play in a team that is grouped according to size and ability, not age. This way you are likely to come up against players with similar capabilities to you. It might also help with your chances of winning!
- Take the time to warm up, stretch and cool down.
- Get adequate rest before you play.
- Listen to your body. Sometimes its hard to be sensible when you just want to keep going, but it’s important that you stop if your body is telling you that an exercise or sport is hurting you or starting a bleed.
It’s very important that if you do get injured, you visit your Haemophilia Treatment Centre so they can evaluate and treat your injury, and discuss ways in which these kinds of injuries can be avoided in the future. Activities should generally be re-initiated gradually after a bleed in order to minimise the chance of a re-bleed.