Background Netball is a fast action game and there is growing interest in the sport. The Netball World Cup (NWC) is an international netball world championship, contested every four years, with 16 teams qualifying by ranking and play-offs. Research on netball injuries is however limited.
Objective To determine the incidence and severity of injuries during the 2019 NWC.
Design Prospective study, cross sectional analysis.
Setting Netball World Cup 2019 in Liverpool, England.
Patients (or Participants) 192 elite female netball players from all 16 contesting teams at the NWC (average squad size 12 players).
Interventions (or Assessment of Risk Factors) Medical staff of each team recorded all injuries (all- and match injuries; 840 total exposure hours) and training/match days lost during the 10-day tournament.
Main Outcome Measurements Incidence rate (IR) (per 1000 player-hours; 95% CI) and severity (% time-loss ≥1 day) of all injuries and match injuries.
Results 48 independent injuries were recorded (46 during match-play, 2 during training) in 192 players (25%). The IR of match injuries was 54.8 (38.9–70.6). The IR in the lower limb (28.6; 17.1–40.0) was significantly higher (p=0.016) vs. the head (9.5; 2.9–16.1; p=0.016) and upper limb (8.3; 2.2–14.5; p=0.002). In the lower limb, the IR of ankle injuries was significantly higher than knee injuries (p= 0.033). Most injuries (71%) occurred in contact situations with another athlete with 34% occurring during quarter 3 of the game, followed by quarter 1 and 2 (26% each). 28% of all injuries were time-loss injuries. The% injuries, by player position, were: centre (25%), goal keeper (21%) and goal defence (19%).
Conclusions There was a high incidence of injuries in elite netball players, with 1 in 4 players sustaining an injury. There is an urgent need to introduce targeted injury prevention strategies in netball internationally to reduce the risk of injuries during the NWC.
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