Background Elite female volleyball players have a high risk for shoulder, knee and ankle injuries. The head coach approach is crucial to prevent injuries.
Objective To compare the frequency of complaints and time loss injuries during two elite volleyball seasons with different head coaches, the second having more expertise in elite female volleyball players than the first.
Design Prospective cohort study.
Setting Minas Tênis Club elite female volleyball team.
Patients (or Participants) One team, consisting of 15 players in the first season (age 25.4 yrs (SD±5.4); body mass 72.7 kg (±3.1); height 182.0 cm (±0.1) and 16 players in the second season (age 23.5 yrs (±4.7); body mass 74.4 kg (±9.7); height 182.0 cm (±6.6) were followed up.
Interventions (or Assessment of Risk Factors) The same physiotherapist conducted the data collection during two seasons. The injury definition was time loss from full participation in sports, and a complaint was any symptoms that need physical therapy intervention and/or modifying training load. The complaints/injuries were categorized as acute or chronic.
Main Outcome Measurements The frequency of complaints and time-loss injuries during two seasons of follow up.
Results The total number of complaints/injuries was 33 in the first season and 41 in the second season, with an annual average of 2.5 complaints/injuries per athlete in the first season and 2.9 in the second. In the first season, 58% of complaints/ injuries resulted in time loss, while in the next season only 34% did. The number of complaints/injuries increased, but there was a 40% reduction in time-loss injuries. Another important factor was the reduction in 33% of chronic cases.
Conclusions The physiotherapy interventions were the same during the two seasons, but the head coach expertise may have influenced the rate of time-loss injuries, resulting in more athletes being available for practices and games.