Knee Surgery, Sports Traumatology, Arthroscopy

, Volume 26, Issue 7, pp 1909–1915 | Cite as

Beach handball is safer than indoor team handball: injury rates during the 2017 European Beach Handball Championships

  • Leonard Achenbach
  • Oliver Loose
  • Lior Laver
  • Florian Zeman
  • Michael Nerlich
  • Peter Angele
  • Werner Krutsch
Sports Medicine



Beach handball is a relatively new type of sports, which was derived from team handball. Medical issues such as frequency and severity of injury are yet unknown. The purpose of this study was to investigate the injury pattern and injury rates of this new type of sports.


This study investigated the injury incidence of 30 national teams (10 senior and 20 u-17 teams, 16 men’s and 14 women’s teams) participating in the 2017 European Beach Handball Championships. Reports on injuries sustained during the senior and u-17 youth tournaments were provided by the medical staff of each team. Injury incidence was differentiated between age and sex, and between the five field positions (goalkeeper, wing, central defender, pivot, and specialist).


During the tournaments, 87 injuries were recorded yielding an overall injury incidence of 286.1 per 1000 match hours. Time-loss due to injury was 49.3 per 1000 match hours. Senior players had a higher overall injury incidence with 395.3 injuries than u-17 players with 205.7 injuries per 1000 h match hours (p < 0.01). Comparison of the injury incidence between the two sexes showed 330.23 injuries per 1000 h handball exposure for male players and 234.9 injuries for female players (n.s.). The most frequent injury type was sprains (21 injuries, 24.1%) followed by contusions (19 injuries, 21.8%) and skin abrasions with (15 injuries, 17.2%). Central defenders and specialists had the highest injury incidence. Thighs, ankles, as well as foot and toes (altogether 12 injuries, all 13.8%) were the three most frequently injured anatomic sites.


Beach handball seems to have a lower incidence of time-loss injuries than that reported for indoor team handball. This study is an important basis for developing injury prevention strategies in this sports that should focus on thighs, ankles, feet and toes. Further research into this new type of sports is essential to identify risk factors and to develop adequate injury prevention measures.

Level of evidence



Team handball Beach Sand Beach handball Handball Injury Championship European EHF 



No funding was received. All authors declare no conflict of interest for this study. We thank the European Handball Federation and the participating teams. We also thank the Centre of Clinical Studies of the University Medical Centre Regensburg.


There was no funding for this study.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors have no conflicts of interest.

Ethical approval

Institutional Review Board (IRB) approval was obtained from the IRB (ID 17-750104-101) prior to initiation of this study.

Informed consent

Informed written consent was obtained from all study participants and from the parents of the u-17 players.


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Copyright information

© European Society of Sports Traumatology, Knee Surgery, Arthroscopy (ESSKA) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Trauma SurgeryUniversity Medical Centre RegensburgRegensburgGermany
  2. 2.Clinic of Paediatric SurgeryClinic St. HedwigRegensburgGermany
  3. 3.Centre for Clinical StudiesUniversity Medical Centre RegensburgRegensburgGermany
  4. 4.Department of Trauma and OrthopaedicsUniversity Hospital Coventry and WarwickshireCoventryUK

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