Background Injuries are likely to negatively affect both individual and team performance in German men's professional handball. The influence of different floor types on injury patterns has not been clearly established.
Objective Analysis of match injury frequency and patterns in relation to floor types.
Design Prospective observational cohort study.
Setting Two highest German professional leagues in men's handball.
Participants All first and second league handball players (n=818) of the 2014–2015 season.
Assessment of Risk Factors Analysis of all injuries of these players that were registered by clubs or physicians with the VBG (German statutory accident insurance for the administrative sector) as part of the occupational accident reporting and that either led to the player's short-term disability (time-loss) and/or to medical treatment costs (medical-attention).
Main Outcome Measurements Injury prevalence, injury incidence, injured body parts, type of injury, short-term disability.
Results 641 of the 818 observed players (78.4%) were injured. In total 1,988 injuries were recorded. Of these, 798 injuries occurred during competitive match play (40.1%). The overall match incidence was 71.2 injuries/1,000 h. 51.0% of competitive matches were played on PVC, 36.0% on wood and 13.0% on linoleum. The injury incidences for these three floor types did not differ significantly (PVC: 67.4/1,000 h, linoleum: 73.4/1,000 h, wood: 72.8/1,000 h). Moreover, no significant difference was observed for injured body region, severity of injury or playing position with regard to the floor type. However, there were trends toward significance for very severe injuries (>90 days time-loss) on PVC floors and goalkeeper injuries on linoleum floors.
Conclusions There seems to be no direct relationship between floor types used in the two highest German men's handball leagues and match injury patterns. Further studies should eventually pay more attention to the floor conditions in handball arenas, especially in view of resin use, rather than to the floor type.
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