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Scand J Med Sci Sports. 2007 Aug;17(4):400-7. Epub 2006 Oct 12.

Handball injuries during major international tournaments.

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Zwolle, Netherland; before: International Handball Federation (IHF), Bern, Switzerland.



Several authors have analyzed the incidence of handball injuries in amateur players but information of handball injury in top-level players is very limited. The aim of the study was to analyze the incidence, circumstances and characteristics of handball injuries during major international tournaments.


Injuries during six international handball tournaments were analyzed, using an established injury report system. The physicians of all participating teams were asked to report all injuries after each match on a standardized injury report form. The response rate was on average 87%.


The incidence of injury was on average 108 injuries/1000 player hours (95% confidence interval (CI): 98-117) or 1.5 injuries/match (95% CI: 1.4-1.6). The injuries affected most frequently the lower extremity (42%), followed by injuries of the head (23%), upper extremity (18%) and trunk (14%). The most frequent diagnosis was contusion of head (14%) or ankle sprain (8%). The majority of injuries were caused by contact with another player. The incidence of time loss injuries was on average 27/1000 player hours (95% CI: 22-32), and significantly higher in men than in women.


Preventive program proven effective should be implemented. Fair Play is an essential aspect of injury prevention. Therefore, close cooperation with the referees is also necessary to make handball a safer sport.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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