Background Assessment of prevalence and consequences of shoulder pain problems in youth handball is an integral first step towards injury prevention, but the literature is scarce.
Objective To evaluate prevalence and impact of shoulder pain problems among youth handball players.
Design Pilot cohort study with 3 months of weekly SMS-based injury registrations based on the OSTRC Overuse Injury Questionnaire.
Setting Danish youth handball.
Participants Danish 109 male and 90 female aged 14–16 years (age group U16) and 16–18 years (age group U18) players recruited as a convenient sample from 5 handball schools in Denmark.
Risk factor assessment Gender and age group differences in shoulder pain prevalence were assessed.
Main outcome measurements Current and previous shoulder pain registered at baseline via the Fahlstrøm questionnaire. A weekly average severity score (0–100) for the 3-month period was calculated for those with current shoulder pain.
Results At baseline, 14% and 33% players reported current and previous shoulder pain, respectively. Of all reported shoulder pain, 56% had gradual onset. There were no significant differences between gender (P=.783) and age groups (P=.187). For players with current or previous pain, 70% had changed their training habits and 30% had missed games. Seventy-eight percent suffered from shoulder pain in their throwing (dominant) arm. Of the players reporting present pain, 41%, 15%, 11%, and 15% had pain durations of >0–4, >4–12, >12–26 and >26–52 weeks, respectively, while 19% had pain duration of more than one year. Thirty percent of these players reported problems more than 8 weeks in the registration period with a median severity score of 48, which is defined as substantial problems.
Conclusions Shoulder pain problems poses a significant burden to Danish youth handball players, with a negative impact on both training and game participation. Further studies to identify risk factors in this population are needed to develop injury prevention strategies.
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