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A one season prospective cohort study of volleyball injuries
  1. E A L M Verhagen1,
  2. A J Van der Beek2,
  3. L M Bouter1,
  4. R M Bahr3,
  5. W Van Mechelen1,4
  1. 1Institute for Research in Extramural Medicine and Bodywork TNO-Vumc, Amsterdam, Netherlands
  2. 2Institute for Research in Extramural Medicine and TNO Vumc, Amsterdam
  3. 3Norwegian University of Sport and Physical Education, Oslo, Norway
  4. 4VU University Medical Centre, Amsterdam
  1. Correspondence to:
 Dr Willem van Mechelen
 VU University Medical Centre, VU University Medical Centre, Department of Social Medicine and EMGO Institute, Van der Boechorstrstraat 7, NL-1081 BT Amsterdam, Netherlands;


Objective: To estimate the overall incidence of acute and overuse volleyball injuries, and to describe factors associated with ankle sprains.

Methods: 486 players from the second and third Dutch national volleyball divisions participated in the study and were followed prospectively during a whole season. Three measurements were made during the season (baseline, follow up 1, and follow up 2), where all players completed a questionnaire on demographic variables (only at baseline), sports participation, use of preventive measures, and previous injuries. Volleyball exposure during training and matches was recorded for each individual player by the coach on a weekly exposure form. In case of injury the coach provided the injured player with an injury registration form, which had to be completed within one week after the onset of injury.

Results: 100 injuries were reported, resulting in an overall injury incidence of 2.6 injuries/1000 hours. The incidence of acute injuries was 2.0/1000 hours. Ankle sprains (n = 41) accounted for most of the acute injuries, and 31 (75%) of all players with an ankle sprain reported a previous ankle sprain. Twenty five overuse injuries were reported. The overall incidence of overuse injuries was 0.6/1000 hours; the back and the shoulder were the most common sites.

Conclusions: Ankle sprain is the most common injury in volleyball, accounting for 41% of all volleyball related injuries. Previous injury seems to be an important risk factor for an ankle sprain. Injury prevention programmes should focus on ankle sprains and concentrate on players with previous ankle sprains.

  • volleyball
  • epidemiology
  • prospective study
  • ankle injury

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