A controlled prospective case control study of a prevention training program in female team handball players: the German experience

  • Wolf PetersenEmail author
  • Christoph Braun
  • Wiebke Bock
  • Kirsten Schmidt
  • Andre Weimann
  • Wolf Drescher
  • Elisabeth Eiling
  • Richard Stange
  • Thomas Fuchs
  • Jürgen Hedderich
  • Thore Zantop
Original Article


Background: Few authors have investigated the effectiveness of preventive intervention in European team handball.

Purpose: The aim of the present study was to evaluate the effects of a prevention program on the incidence of injuries in female European team handball players.

Study design: Prospective controlled study.

Methods: Ten female handball teams (134 players) took part in the prevention program (1. Information about injury mechanism, 2. Balance-board exercises, 3. Jump training) while 10 other teams (142 players) were instructed to train as usual. Over one season all injuries were documented weekly.

Results: Ankle sprain was the most frequent diagnosis in both groups with 11 ankle sprains in the control group and 7 ankle sprains in the intervention group (Odds ratio: 0.55, 95% confidence interval: 0.22–1.43). The knee was the second frequent injury site. In the control group 5 of all knee injuries were anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) ruptures (incidence: 0.21 per 1000 h) in comparison with one in the intervention group (incidence: 0.04 per 1000 h). Odds ratio was 0.17 with 95% confidence interval of 0.02–1.5.

Conclusions: This study confirms that proprioceptive and neuromuscular training is appropriate for the prevention of knee and ankle injuries among female European team handball players.


Anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) Prevention Female athlete Knee injury Handball Non contact injury 



We would like to thank Andreas Hypa (PT), Thomas Wessolowski (PT), Maike Steensen (PT), Mario Moll (PT), and Frank Neumann (Handball coach) for their help and support. This study was supported in part by the ARAG Versicherungs-AG. The balance-boards were supplied by Kriwat GmBh. None of the authors received any direct financial benefit from any commercial party involved in this study.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2005

Authors and Affiliations

  • Wolf Petersen
    • 1
    Email author
  • Christoph Braun
    • 2
  • Wiebke Bock
    • 3
  • Kirsten Schmidt
    • 3
  • Andre Weimann
    • 1
  • Wolf Drescher
    • 2
  • Elisabeth Eiling
    • 2
  • Richard Stange
    • 1
  • Thomas Fuchs
    • 1
  • Jürgen Hedderich
    • 4
  • Thore Zantop
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Trauma, Hand, and Reconstructive SurgeryWestfalian Wilhelms University Münster MünsterGermany
  2. 2.Department of Orthopaedic SurgeryChristian-Albrechts-University KielKielGermany
  3. 3.School of PhysiotherapyLubinus ClinicumKielGermany
  4. 4.Department of Medical StatisticsChristian-Albrechts-University KielKielGermany

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