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21 The use of knee injury prevention exercises programmes in danish youth handball: an investigation of key implementation components
  1. Sheree Bekker1,
  2. Mette K Zebis2,
  3. Grethe Myklebust3,
  4. Niels Wedderkopp4,
  5. Martin Lind5,
  6. Henrik Sørensen6,
  7. Merete Møller7
  1. 1Australian Centre for Research into Injury in Sport and its Prevention (ACRISP), & Faculty of Health, Federation University Australia, Australia
  2. 2Department of Physiotherapy and Occupational Therapy, Faculty of Health and Technology, Metropolitan University College, Denmark
  3. 3Grethe Myklebust, Department of Sports Medicine, Oslo Sports Trauma Research Center, Norwegian School of Sport Sciences, Norway
  4. 4Niels Wedderkopp, Sport Medicine Clinic, Orthopaedic dep. Hospital of Lillebaelt, Institute of Regional Health Service Research, University of Southern Denmark, Denmark
  5. 5Martin Lind, Div. of Sportstraumatology, Aarhus University Hospital, Denmark
  6. 6Henrik Sørensen, Section for Sports Science, Department of Public Health, Aarhus University, Denmark
  7. 7Merete Møller, Department of Sports Science and Clinical Biomechanics, Research Unit for Musculoskeletal Function and Physiotherapy, University of Southern Denmark, Odense, & Section for Sports Science, Department of Public Health, Aarhus University, Denmark


Introduction The efficacy of knee injury-prevention exercise programs (IPEPs) for handball has been established, however their implementation in Danish youth handball is unknown. This study aimed to assess key IPEP implementation components in Danish youth handball, including coach and player attitudes, beliefs, and experiences.

Materials and methods 678 youth (14–18 years) handball players (372 boys, 307 girls) were surveyed about their use of IPEPs. A subgroup of players (n=473) and coaches (n=33) were subsequently surveyed about their attitudes and beliefs around IPEPs. Additionally, 5 coaches and 3 players were interviewed about their IPEP experiences.

Results Players reported performing some of the IPEP exercises (62%), however only 3% implemented the full IPEP. The majority performed these exercises once weekly (51%), while 17% did the exercises 3 times a week. Players recognize their high risk of injury (80% agree), and are willing to implement IPEPs if these reduce injury risk (84% agree) and enhance performance (88% agree). Coaches agreed that IPEPs are an important part of coach education (100%), and are the coach's responsibility to implement (87% agree). There is high agreement amongst players (73%) and coaches (87%) that coach motivation has a key influence on player motivation to participate in IPEPs. Qualitative interviews suggest that players and coaches felt that established IPEPs did not contain enough handball-specific exercises, and do not enhance performance.

Conclusion Danish youth handball players and coaches recognize the importance of IPEPs. They generally have positive attitudes towards injury prevention, however adherence to established IPEPs is low.

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