Neck Instability

Date: 9th May 2019

As the summer holidays are fast approaching we want to make sure that you are aware that if you are taking a child who has Down’s syndrome to trampoline parks or gymnastic type activities that it is likely that you will be asked to sign a waiver and be asked to obtain a medical certificate for them in relation to neck (craniovertebral) instability. This request is becoming a routine health and safety requirement for many establishments now to ensure that as a parent/carer that you are aware of possible risks your child may have in relation to the activity and allows you to make an informed decision for them taking part.

Neck instability is a very rare condition which causes sudden dislocation of the neck. It can occur in anyone in the general population and guidance suggests that it probably occurs more commonly in people with Down’s syndrome, again, we must stress that it is still very rare.

Very few sporting injuries have ever been recorded in people with Down’s syndrome which could have been caused by neck instability however, higher level sports such as trampolining, diving and boxing do carry an element of risk for anyone, not just for people with Down’s syndrome, and for those with Down’s syndrome current guidance is that pre-sport screening is strongly advisable and most sporting groups follow the screening protocol developed by The British Gymnastics Association for those with Down’s syndrome who want to take part in trampolining and higher level sports  – you can download this booklet here.

The Downs Syndrome Association have produced a blog giving further guidance and information on neck instability –  you can view this here.

Please do speak to the Family Support Service team if you would like to discuss any of this information further.