In a prospective study of 302 adolescent players in three ball games (soccer, handball and basketball), 119 incurred injuries. The injury incidence (number of injuries per 1000 playing hours) was 5.6 in soccer, 4.1 in handball and 3.0 in basketball. Ankle sprains accounted for 25 per cent of the injuries, finger sprains 32 per cent, strains in the thigh and leg 10 per cent, and tendinitis/apophysitis 12 per cent. The most serious injuries were four fractures, one anterior cruciate ligament rupture, and two meniscus lesions. The most serious injuries, with the longest rehabilitation period, occurred in soccer. In soccer, many injuries occurred during tackling and contact with an opposing player, while the injuries in handball and basketball were often caused by ball contact and running.