Sport safe for sufferers

CHILDREN with Down's syndrome, contrary to earlier medical wisdom, could take part safely in vigorous sports, according to Dutch researchers.

There was no special danger, even to those suffering from the condition who had abnormalities of the neck, the report in the British Lancet medical journal said.

In 1983 American experts advised that Down's syndrome - a congenital condition marked by lower intelligence, small stature and flattened facial features - could put sufferers at risk of spinal cord compression and paralysis.

But the Dutch researchers studied 135 Down's children for a year, and found those with the neck condition were at no greater risk of injuries when they took part in such inherently risky sports as martial arts, trampolining, soccer, skiing or diving.