A/Prof. Brian K. Owler
Thanks you for the opportunity to attend the DreamCricket Gala Day in Bowral on 25 october 2013.
As a paediatric neurosurgeon who spends a great deal of time interacting with children with a variety of conditionsk including those represented amongst the children who attend DreamCricket, it was an excellent opporutnity to interact with children and carers in a positive evironment outside of the hospital setting.
As part of my attendance I understand that the organisers were keen for me to provide an opinion as to the nature of activities at the event and any potential risks posed by those activities.
I was able to observe a large number of children of varying ages and abilities participating in several planned activities that centred on particular skills associated with cricket including catching, running, hitting a ball with a light-weight cricket bat as well as bowling. I appreciated the time taken to explain each of the activities on teh day.
The events were well supervised by a variety of people such as carers, senior secondary school students and the organisers. The activities were well run with consideration give to the range of abilities of the children. The equipment was light-weight and suitable for children with disabilites.
While I am aware that children with some conditions may have underlying conditions that place them at risk during some sporting activities, for example cervical spine instability associated with Downs syndrome, the activities or interactions with which these children were involved did not involve any significant clinical risk. I did not form an opinion that the actvities were likely to result in any significant injury to the children.
Rather than impose any physical risk, the positive nature of the activities was more likely to improve the physical movements and motor skills of the participants.
Most importantly the activities and nurturing environment were likely to instill confidence and provide an enjoyable experience to the children. This was reinforced by my observations during and after the event.
I congratulate you and the orgaisers for such an inspiring event. Thank you for the opportunity to be part of the DreamCricket experience and I wish you and your colleagues every success in your plans to allow other children with disabilities to share in this uplifting venture.