Handball Injuries: Epidemiology and Injury Characterization: Part 1

  • Lior Laver
  • Patrick Luig
  • Leonard Achenbach
  • Grethe Myklebust
  • Jon Karlsson


Handball (also referred to as “team handball”) is an Olympic team ball sport of worldwide popularity. The sport has continuously developed during recent years, with major evolutions in players’ speed, strength, and technique, and as a consequence adaptive changes in tactics and rules of the game. Handball is characterized by intense body contact, frequent intermittent running, pace changes, one-on-one confrontations, and quick direction changes in combination with challenging technique and coordination elements like catching, throwing, passing, and dribbling.

Handball is not only a throwing or pivoting sport but also a contact sport, and bodily contact is an integral part of the game. Contact-related injuries represent a large part of all handball-related injuries, and therefore, the referee has an important task in taking care of the player’s health by keeping the game fair and appropriately sanctioning foul play.

At the professional level, matches are played year round with elite players playing between 70 and 100 matches a year. The physiologic load that each player is exposed to varies depending on their playing level and the total number of players in the teams but is considered to be high, compared with other ball sports. Unfortunately, as in other ball and contact sports, injuries are a part of the game. The purpose of this chapter is to report on the epidemiologic background and improve the understanding of the etiology and incidence of handball injuries.


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Copyright information

© ESSKA 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Lior Laver
    • 1
    • 2
  • Patrick Luig
    • 3
  • Leonard Achenbach
    • 4
  • Grethe Myklebust
    • 5
  • Jon Karlsson
    • 6
  1. 1.Department of Trauma and OrthopaedicsUniversity Hospitals Coventry and WarwickshireCoventryUK
  2. 2.Department of ArthroscopyRoyal Orthopaedic HospitalBirminghamUK
  3. 3.Department of Sports Injury Research and PreventionVBG, German Social Accident Insurance for the Administrative SectorHamburgGermany
  4. 4.Department of Trauma SurgeryUniversity Medical Center RegensburgRegensburgGermany
  5. 5.Oslo Sports Trauma Research CenterOsloNorway
  6. 6.Department of OrthopaedicsSahlgrenska University Hospital, Sahlgrenska Academy at Gothenburg UniversityMölndalSweden

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