This article presents the results of a case--control study regarding the background to handball injuries among players of 12 years and older. Data were collected by means of a written questionnaire on the nature, location and direct causes of the injuries as well as information on risk factors. Injured players (n = 130) are compared with non-injured players (n = 512). The response for the cases was 67% and for the controls 75%. These injuries are frequently located at the lower extremities (54% of injuries), especially the ankle, and the majority involve distortions (35%) and strains (26%). Players greater than 20 years have a significantly greater risk of injury than players less than 20 years (odds ratio 1.9). Several factors seem to increase the injury risk, although not significantly: having greater than 5 years experience, not doing stretching exercises and not wearing tape or bandages. Another factor, not wearing elbow protectors, appears to decrease the injury risk significantly. It is advisable to interpret the results of this study with some caution, as selection and information bias might have influenced the validity to some extent. Furthermore, the reliability of the data is limited due to the relatively small number of injured players in the study. Some guidelines for future studies are formulated.
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