ERUOPE/ITALY - Running for health: Bambino Gesu Children’s Hospital will run in Rome Marathon

Thursday, 18 March 2004

Vatican City (Fides Service) - Sports activities for athletes with autistic syndromes or pathologies which affect autistic behaviour, is the aim of Progetto Filippide sponsored by the Bambino Gesu Children’s Hospital in Rome in collaboration with the Italian Sport and Society Association, for more than 20 years engaged in promoting sports activities for people with a psychic disability.
Among the imminent challenges which await young athletes with autistic difficulties taking part in Progetto Filippide, participation in the Rome Marathon on Sunday 28 March. A safe race will be guaranteed the staff of Heart/Respiratory Medicine and Sport at Bambino Gesu Children’s Hospital who will accompany the young athletes on the Marathon. The Hospital team of experts provides daily assistance to children with various pathologies (congenital heart pathologies, malformation, congenital kidney disease, diabetic cystic fibrosis, etc.) who do not want to renounce physical exercise. Besides guaranteeing annual examinations and certification for sports activities (assuring complete paediatric assistance for the little patients) and the accompanying persons, prepared all through the year with interventions ad hoc to improve the alimentary habits of the runners, in keeping with the training they undergo.
Autism is a una pathology which consists in a mental attitude of complete isolation from the outside world. The affected person is detached from surrounding reality. To involve child patients in sports helps them interact with the outside world through ongoing training and this is a first important victory over the illness but still more over the “stigma” often suffered by people with psychic disabilities. (AP) (18/3/2004 Agenzia Fides; Righe:27; Parole:300)