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Can ostomates play football and other contact sports?

As World Cup fever well and truly grips England, some people with a stoma might be wondering whether it’s safe to play football themselves. It’s a question that those who played football pre-operation might be wondering especially. Well, we asked one of our expert stoma nurses for their advice on the subject and here’s the advice they gave us…

Having a stoma should not be a barrier to joining in and enjoying any form of sport, however, it’s important to note the risks associated with competing in contact sports and take measures to minimise them. Contact sports, by their very nature, can be dangerous for anyone and anyone who has reservations may choose to sit on the sidelines, but if you’re willing to accept the associated risks there’s no reason not to play.

As previously mentioned, a few precautions would be wise to protect your stoma. There are specialised products available, such as a stoma protector to add an extra layer of protection whilst playing contact sports, such as football. The protector fits over the stoma, much like a box used in cricket and other sports to provide a barrier to the tender area. Of course, these will not 100% guarantee an injury can’t take place, but they may be all you need to stop a flailing elbow or foot from causing damage. There’s a variety of options available, many of which can be sourced through a prescription.

The only time we would recommend absolutely not taking part in contact sports is whilst you’re in recovery after your operation. It’s essential that you repair and regain your strength before attempting anything too strenuous to let your body heal and avoid any unnecessary injury. As a rule of thumb, it takes at least 3 months to reach full recovery, but it could be longer for others.

Always consult with a healthcare professional to get their opinion before playing contact sports and gain advice more specific to your particular condition. Not only will the give advice, they may be able to suggest some extra precautions and help you to find the right supplies you need before playing.

For those who want to take part in sports, but aren’t ready to compete in full contact, there are alternatives. Walking football, for example, has risen massively in popularity with many leagues popping up nationwide. These games are often non-contact and put the body under minimal stress. A great way to compete and get some exercise without risking injury.

So, there you have it, a stoma doesn’t necessarily mean the end of your sporting career! Life with a stoma is all about finding ways to carry on with the things you love, just often with a few added precautions. As England march on in the tournament and hopefully find their way to the final, there’s no reason you can’t enjoy a kickabout of your own.

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