Background The epidemiological study is an important tool in the understanding and development of any medical field. In Sports Medicine highlights their importance in the development of preventive strategies with the ultimate goal of protecting and enhancing the performance of athletes.
Objective This observational study has the aim to identify the prevalence, incidence, aetiology, severity and anatomical location of injuries of the locomotor system occurred in volleyball elite players.
Setting, participants and methods 20 Portuguese volleyball players from the senior national team, with mean age of 24.29 years and 11.14 years of average sports volleyball, were evaluated during 4 months. All the injuries were recorded and reported with their clinical diagnosis.
Results During the study, 55 injuries were detected with an incidence rate of 6.11 injuries per athlete per 1000 h of sporting activity. An higher incidence of injuries was observed during games when compared with the training sessions (10.11 vs 5.56). The 55 lesions were diagnosed in 18 athletes (90.00%) who comprised the study, noting the prevalence of overuse injuries (72.73%). The anatomical segment most affected was the lower limb (45.54%). Lower limb anatomic area with highest number of injuries was the knee and leg (27.27%). Muscular injuries (38.18%) and tendinopathys (34.54%) were the most frequent injuries reported. There was a predominance of lesions in the dominant member (64.86%). In eight players (40.00%) recurrence of previous injuries was diagnosed. The greatest number of lesions was considered of mild (58.18%) or moderate (34.54%) severity. The analysis between the injuries and the athlete's position stated that the opposites were the most affected players. The first month of sport activity was the period with more injuries recorded.
Conclusions The results reported in this study show a predominance of overuse and recurrent injuries in elite volleyball athletes. These finding are consistent with previously conducted epidemiological records.