Safety in Sport Perception Survey

The Faculty welcomes the debate over the importance of physical activity and injury recognition which the Podium Analytics “Safety in Sport Perception Survey 2023” report has raised. However, the Faculty would like to emphasise the importance of increasing participation in all levels of physical activity, and to identify and overcome any barriers preventing exercise at all ages.

FSEM believe there must be sufficient systems and support in place to provide a safe sporting environment for children and young people at all levels. However, any attempt to monitor injury should not act as a barrier to participation in, and the enjoyment of, physical activity and sport. As the evidence suggests, participation at a young age lays the foundation for lifelong physical activity with its associated health and wellbeing benefits.

There has been a longstanding need to improve the nation’s physical activity levels. Official Government data from the Sport England Active Lives Survey 2021-22 highlighted that only 47.2% of children and young people meet the Chief Medical Officer’s Physical Activity Guidelines. Our Moving Medicine Initiative empowers people to live active and healthy lives, offering resources to help Health Care Professionals integrate physical activity conversations into routine clinical care. Resources for children and young   living with long term conditions have also been developed in partnership with the RCPCH and Sport Scotland. These resources underline the need for children, young people and their carers to understand that the health risks of being sedentary far outweigh the injury risks of engaging in physical activity, especially for those living with long term health conditions.

Aligning with the Faculty’s goal to increase safety in sport, we have previously welcomed new guidelines for concussion in grassroots sport and will continue to advocate for ongoing research to reduce the impact of physical injury, including head injuries. This involves supporting Governing Bodies in rule changes that make physical activity and sport safer for all as well as providing education, standard setting and accreditation for those practitioners working in sport at both a grassroots and elite level. We are also committed to further research to collect meaningful data on the injury burden in children and adults to understand how to best support those who become injured. While FSEM acknowledges the challenges of collecting such data, we believe that any policy or mandated data collection regarding injury in sport must ensure that:

FSEM is committed to improving the health of the nation through physical activity. It is important that we support, enable and encourage all children, young people and adults to participant in physical activity and sport and concurrently educate and set standards for our Health Care Professionals and the wider sport and exercise community. There is a clear requirement to protect and support participants at all levels. We look forward to working with the Government and National Governing Bodies (NGB) on the promotion of safe physical activity and sport for all.

References
  1. Telama R, Yang X, Leskinen E, Kankaanpaa A, Hirvensalo M, Tammelin T, et al. Tracking of physical activity from early childhood through youth into adulthood. Med Sci Sports Exerc. 2014;46(5):955-62.
  2. Tarp J, Child A, White T, Westgate K, Bugge A, Grontved A, et al. Physical activity intensity, bout-duration, and cardiometabolic risk markers in children and adolescents. Int J Obes (Lond). 2018.
  3. 2018 Physical Activity Guidelines Advisory Committee. 2018. Physical Activity Guidelines Advisory Committee Scientific Report. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services; 2018
  4. Public Health England. Physical activity for general health benefits in disabled adults: Summary of a rapid evidence review for the UK Chief Medical Officers’ update of the physical activity guidelines. London; 2018.