Background Basketball (BB) and handball (HB) are both dynamic and physical indoor transition team sports. However, performance profiles, specifically with regard to allowed legal physical contact, differ widely. Knowledge of injury risk and injury patterns, particularly in regular league play, is limited.
Objective Comparative analysis of injury risk and injury patterns in German men's professional BB and HB.
Design Prospective observational cohort study.
Setting Two highest German professional leagues in men's BB and HB.
Participants All first and second league BB (n=514) and HB (n=804) players who played in at least one competitive club match during the 2014–2015 season.
Interventions (or Assessment of Risk Factors) Analysis of all injuries that were registered by clubs or physicians with the VBG as part of the occupational accident reporting and that either led to 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, medical costs, short-term disability.
Results 992 of the 1.318 observed players were injured. A total of 3,071 injuries were recorded. Prevalence rate (BB: 70.0%; HB: 78.6%) and cumulative incidence rate (BB: 2.0 injuries/season; HB: 2.5 injuries/season) were significantly higher in HB. By contrast, BB (95.4 injuries/1,000 h) showed higher match incidences than HB (74.7 injuries/1,000 h). The ankle (19.6%) in BB and the knee (15.2%) in HB were the body parts most commonly affected. Moreover, in both sports injury risk and patterns varied considerably according to level of play (league) and playing position.
Conclusions Both, German men's professional BB and HB are associated with a high risk of injury in regular league play. However, injury patterns in professional men's BB and HB differ extensively reflecting varying performance profiles. Preventive strategies and measures should therefore be tailored towards sport-specific and, moreover, position-specific risks and patterns.
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