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Can young people with haemophilia go on to elite levels with their sports?

The short answer is YES. Usually.  But there are a few questions to answer beforehand:

  • Will the sport you are playing progress into a contact sport? For example Auskick (which is non-contact) transitions in to Aussie Rules (which involves tackling and bumping).  It is recommended that high-impact contact sports be avoided as the risk of sustaining an injury that leads to bleeding is high.
  • Are you finding that participation in your chosen sport is giving you increasing pain or bleeds? As your fitness increases you may find you bleed less often as your muscles become stronger and protect your joints. If you find you are having more injuries and bleeds it may be that your training or treatment regime needs to be modified or it may be that pursuing a certain sport to higher levels is not suitable for you.
  • Do you have any pre-existing issues that may make participating difficult? For example if you have existing ankle or knee issues then increasing impact and time spent weight-bearing on them may not be for you.

Your haemophilia treatment centre (HTC) physio should be able to assist you in training advice and can supplement regimes with specific joint and stability muscle exercises to help you best achieve your goals. If there isn’t a physio at your HTC, talk to your haemophilia doctor or nurse about the next steps.

Shining examples of elite level athletes with haemophilia include:

Australian and New Zealand Physiotherapy Haemophilia Group:
Original answer (2012): Auburn McIntyre, Women's and Children's Hospital, Adelaide; Emma Paterson, Royal Brisbane & Women’s Hospital; Wendy Poulsen, Lady Cilento Children's Hospital, Brisbane
Reviewed (2022): Cameron Cramey, Royal Adelaide Hospital; Elise Mosey, Queensland Children's Hospital

Answered by: Physio

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Date last reviewed: 19 January 2022