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Contact — but not foul play — dominates injury mechanisms in men’s professional handball: a video match analysis of 580 injuries


Aim We aimed to identify patterns and mechanisms of injury situations in men’s professional handball by means of video match analysis.

Methods Moderate and severe injuries (absence of >7 days) sustained in competition in one of six seasons (2010 to 2013 and 2014 to 2017) in men’s professional handball were prospectively analysed with a newly developed standardised observation form. Season 2013 to 2014 was excluded because of missing video material.

Results 580 injuries were identified: 298 (51.4%) contact injuries, 151 (26.0%) indirect contact injuries and 131 (22.6%) non-contact injuries. Head (87.5%), hand (83.8%), shoulder (70.2%) and ankle (62.9%) injuries were mainly sustained during direct contact. Typical contact injuries included collision with an opponent’s upper extremity or torso, and ankle injuries mainly consisted of foot-to-foot collisions. A large proportion (41.7%) of knee injuries were caused by indirect contact, whereas thigh injuries mainly occurred (56.4%) through non-contact mechanism. Wing (56.9%) and pivot (58.4%) players had the highest proportion of contact injuries, whereas backcourt players had a high proportion of indirect contact injuries (31.5%) and goalkeepers of non-contact injuries (48.9%). The injury proportion of foul play was 28.4%. Most injuries occurred in the central zone between the 6-metre and 9-metre lines (26.1%) and during the last 10 min of each match half (OR 1.71, p=0.016).

Conclusions In men’s professional handball in a league setting, contact — but not foul play — was the most common mechanism associated with moderate and severe injuries. Head, hand, shoulder and ankle injury were mainly sustained during direct contact.

  • handball
  • injury prevention
  • contact sports

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