Background There is little knowledge about the causes of injuries in men's professional handball, in particular with a view to the specificity of regular league play.
Objective To identify and describe typical injury situations, mechanisms and characteristics in German men's professional handball.
Design Prospective video-based analysis of match injuries.
Setting Two highest German professional leagues in men's handball.
Participants All first and second league handball players who played at least one competitive club match (n=1,194) were included in the study and observed over a period of three consecutive seasons (2010–2013).
Interventions (or Assessment of Risk Factors) Analysis of all moderate and severe match injuries (time-loss>7 days) 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.
Main Outcome Measurements The video observation form contained 27 variables including data on injury location, time of injury, injury situation, injury mechanism.
Results 560 moderate or severe match injuries were recorded during 2,227 competitive matches. 243 injuries (43.4%) were identified on video. 56.8% of injuries were contact injuries, 25.1% indirect contact injuries and 18.1% non-contact injuries. 63.8% of injuries occurred during attacking play. While pivots most often injured themselves in a defensive position and through contact, injuries in backcourt players were more often the result of indirect contact and in an attacking position. Injuries in field players were significantly overrepresented during the final thirds of each half, specifically in the last ten minutes of the game. Moreover, 7 typical injury situations for knee, ankle, shoulder and head injuries in were recognized.
Conclusions Video-analysis of match injuries made it clear that not only sport-specific, but also position- and injury-specific aspects must be taken into account in order to derive targeted, multidisciplinary preventive measures.