The Swedish Handball Cohort – National-wide implementation of injury preventative strategies in adolescent handball
Handball is the fourth biggest sport in Sweden with over 32000 players aged 13-19, and 38 handball-profiled high schools accredited by the Swedish handball federation, app 1200 students. Handball is one of the most injury prone sports, and shoulder, knee and ankle injuries are dominant. Recent studies have showed that a neuromuscular training program, reduces the rate of ACL in adolescent female football players and that a training program aiming to increase shoulder strength, shoulder mobility and trunk stability decreased the prevalence of shoulder problems among elite senior handball players. However, no large study has evaluated the effect in adolescent handball players.
The overall aim with this cohort study is to examine the occurrence of handball related injuries in adolescent elite female and male handball players in the short and long term. Further, the aim is to investigate the injury occurrence 10 years after implementing injury preventative measures for shoulder and knee injuries, and to evaluate the association between injuries during the high school period and future musculoskeletal problems.
This study will include over 1200 female and male adolescent handball player seasons per year. At baseline the players answered a comprehensive questionnaire involving questions regarding as regarding sex, playing position, playing level, playing experience, current injuries and history of injuries, sleeping and nutrition habits, an athletic identity score (AIMS) and compliance to any regular injury prevention training program. The payers will then be monitored by weekly reports during their high school years regarding match- and training amount, sleep, workload and injuries and illnesses. When the players graduate they will fill in a questionnaire each year for ten years regarding musculoskeletal problems and if the still play handball and if so at which level. The primary outcome are handball injuries.
Handball is one of the most injury prone sports and preventative strategies are highly warranted. This study will evaluate the implementation of a national-wide injury prevention program in adolescent handball and investigate the long-term effect of sports injuries during the adolescence.
Swedish Research Council for Sport Science, Scandinavian College of Naprapathic Manual Medicine, Swedish Naprapath Association.