National Kidney Foundation: Are contact sports OK for kids with kidney disease?
By Nathan Beins, MHPE, MD Pediatric Nephrology Children's Mercy Kansas City
One of the most common questions asked by parents of children with kidney disease is whether contact sports are safe. Physical activity is very important for overall health and this is especially true for children with kidney diseases. Chronic kidney disease (CKD) can increase the risk for heart disease and physical activity is important in preventing heart disease. Team sports and activities play a large role in encouraging kids to be physically active, especially during childhood. Because of the many benefits of physical activity, it should only be restricted when absolutely necessary.
Understandably, parents are worried about injuries to their child’s kidney. But, kidney injuries are actually very uncommon. In fact, most kidney injuries are minor and do not result in permanent loss of kidney function. Motor vehicle accidents are the most common cause of kidney injuries. The next most common cause of kidney injuries are horseback riding and bicycle accidents. Even though bicycle accidents cause a large number of kidney injuries, these injuries are still very uncommon. Contact sports that are usually considered high-risk, such as football, hockey, and soccer, can cause kidney injuries but it is uncommon.
Most children with kidney disease are not at higher risk for kidney injuries during contact sports. However, injuries can occur so it is important to discuss the risk and your concerns with your child’s healthcare professional before your child participates in any contact sports. Special padding (kidney guards) are available and may offer additional protection. These products are not formally tested like other protective gear such as helmets but may provide some benefit.
Learn more about the Division of Pediatric Nephrology at Children's Mercy.