A Successful Harmonious Development by Sport of a Child with Down Syndrome: Fifteen Years of Sport Medical Follow-Up
Author(s): Véronique-Aurélie Bricout, Michel Guinot, Anne Favre-Juvin, Florence Amblard, Françoise Devillard
Background: Children with Down syndrome have long been banned from competitive sport practice. However in recent years, some clubs have emerged, helping children and youths with mental disabilities to improve health and well-being by regularly training them. To determine the effects of regular sports training, we followed a young man with Down syndrome, who had consistent swimming and cross-country skiing trainings at high level for 15 years.
Objective: This study is based on a multidisciplinary follow-up. During childhood, the follow-up of this young athlete of 14 years old was based on regular evaluations by the genetic department. Then when the sports training began, this athlete was followed by the sport medicine department according to the recommendations prescribed by the law concerning high-level sport.
Methods: During this study, every two years at least, one maximal effort test with cardiovascular follow-up was realized.
Results: The results obtained showed that regular physical activity contributed to the development of an excellent physical fitness and limited the overweight development which is frequently found in the Down syndrome. Cardiovascular and orthopaedic monitoring of this young athlete proved to be regularly indispensable in the management of the health problems characteristic of this genetic syndrome.
Conclusion: Promoting physical activity guarantees the development of the children with Down syndrome. When sports trainings are well organized and accompanied by regular medical monitoring it demonstrates the ability of young child with Down syndrome to develop exceptional physical qualities.