Are you aware of the safety benefits a modified version of a sport has for your child?

Research conducted by Ballarat University, in partnership with VicHealth, has found that parents are directing their children away from seemingly higher-risk sports and aren’t aware that participation in a modified sport has many safety benefits for their child.

Modified sports are a great way to introduce children to sport in a safe and fun way.

Modifications made to sports to make them safer and more appropriate for children can include:

  • Decrease in the size of the playing field / court
  • Smaller, and sometimes softer playing equipment
  • Rule changes
  • Timing of games shortened
  • Increased use of body protection and/or protective equipment

In a study conducted by McMahon et al in 1993 it was reported that children playing a modified game of Australian Rules football had the lowest rate of injury, compared with children playing other versions of the game.

Modified sports decrease the risk of injury for children by teaching them the correct rules and skills of the sport in a safe and fun environment. This then ensures children continue in sport in the long term through encouragement and an emphasis on fun and enjoyment.

Many sports provide a modified version for children, for example Milo “Have A Go” cricket, Oz Hoops basketball, Fun Net and Netta netball and AusKick football.

If you would like some information on the new children guidelines for safer sport, you can read more here.

Contact your sport’s State Sporting Association (SSA) for more information. For a full listing of SSA’s visit Sport.vic.gov.au (Sport and Recreation Organisations).

The Ballarat University / VicHealth Parental Perceptions of Sports Injury Risk Project Report can be downloaded here.

Reference: McMahon KA, Nolan T, Bennett CM & Carlin JB, 1993. Australian rules football injuries in children and adolescents. The Medical Journal of Australia, 159: 301-6