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SportSG introduces new recommendations to enhance sports safety

Increase training intensity gradually, weigh the use of protective, heat-trapping attire against a higher risk of heat injury and avoid sprinting towards the end of a marathon unless you are well-conditioned.

These are among the recommendations in the latest report by Sport Singapore's Sports Safety Committee.

The 146-page Sports Safety Committee report, which is the third edition following earlier versions in 2007 and 2015, focuses on nine areas, including sudden cardiac death in sports, with dedicated chapters on water safety and heat injuries.

It was launched on Saturday (March 30) at the OCBC Square outside Kallang Wave Mall, with Minister for Culture, Community and Youth Grace Fu as the guest of honour.

The 32-man Sports Safety Committee, which is co-chaired by former Singapore Sailing chief Dr Ben Tan and SportSG's chief of strategy Rostam Umar, convened in 2016 to come up with the latest report, in view of the increased participation in extreme, ultra-endurance, combative and mass-participation sports, and also in light of the rising temperatures. 

The report sought to establish the best practices in various sporting scenarios, be it as a participant, care-giver or organiser. 

Seeking to eliminate preventable incidents like exercise-related death across various settings, the tips can be as simple as going for screening and heeding warning signs before a race, to reminding oneself not to sprint towards the end of a marathon, unless you are well-conditioned.

The reason being that cardiac collapses in a marathon are most often at the final mile or finishing line, according to medical literature. There are individuals who participate in marathons without adequate preparatory training. Coupled with the desire to complete the race, many push themselves towards the end of the race, hence increasing the risk.


Athletes and coaches should also be aware of heat injury prevention techniques such as gradual conditioning, having adequate hydration and acclimatisation to heat.

The use of protective, heat-trapping clothing in heat acclimatisation needs to be weighed against the increased risks of injury during acclimatisation training.


In water safety, the use of technology will greatly help in preventing drowning cases.

The computer vision drowning detection system (CVDDS), which helped to prevent the drowning of a 64-year-old man when it was on trial at the Hougang Swimming Complex last year, will be progressively rolled out to all 28 public competition pools that SportSG operates.

However, there is still a need to remain vigilant. Infants, toddlers and pre-schoolers should be under constant adult supervision when they are in and around water.

Dr Tan, who is also chief of the sport and exercise science department at Changi General Hospital, said: “Sports safety requires a multi-pronged approach, with multiple layers of precautions. The Sports Safety Report details not just one or two measures that event organisers, sports bodies and facility owners need to put in place, but a comprehensive suite of measures. The end game is to promote sports, in a safe and responsible manner.”

Co-chairman Rostam added: “We aim to foster a culture of continuous improvements to safety, putting a strong emphasis on proactive risk management. Sport safety is everyone’s responsibility. We look forward to work closely with our partners to implement these recommendations.”


safetywater safetyheat injuriesdrowningSport Singapore