Injuries among volleyball players: a comprehensive survey of the literature

  • Filippo MiglioriniEmail author
  • Björn Rath
  • Markus Tingart
  • Marc Niewiera
  • Giorgia Colarossi
  • Alice Baroncini
  • Jörg Eschweiler
Review Article



The purpose of this systematic review is to analyse and summarize current literature, to obtain an extensive overview, and improve the evidences concerning injury patterns in volleyball players.

Materials and methods

A comprehensive review of the literature was conducted. The main databases were accessed: PubMed, Medline, CINAHL, Cochrane, Embase and Google Scholar. Articles in English, French, Spanish, Italian, and German were considered for inclusion. We focused on the following outcomes of interest: injury place, type of injury, circumstance, injury severity. Missing data pertinent to these parameters warranted exclusion from this systematic review. We referred to the Newcastle–Ottawa Scale for the methodological quality assessment.


A total of 28,889 patients were enrolled. The mean age was 22 years and the mean follow-up 24.9 months. There were seven retrospective cohort studies and 16 prospective cohort studies. The mean injury rate was 4.21/1000 playing hours. The methodological quality assessment resulted moderate. The lower limb was the most affected area, followed by the upper limb, trunk, and the head. Regarding lower limb, the most commonly injured area was the ankle, followed by the knee. Joint injuries were the most frequent, mostly represented by sprains and ligament damages. Spiking and blocking represented the most frequent circumstances correlated with these injuries. Acute onset lesions were more frequent than those caused by overuse. About a third of the injuries entailed a short-term absence from the field.


Though volleyball is commonly considered to be a safe sport, the overall probability of sustaining an injury is comparable with previous reports from other high-contact team sports.


Volleyball Injuries Net zone Trauma Ankle sprain Jumper’s knee Spiking Blocking 



we would like to thank Pia Offermanns B. A. (freelance editor, translator and proof-reader) for her professional editing of this study (


No external source of funding was used.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Ethical approval

This article does not contain any studies with human participants or animals performed by any of the authors.

Informed consent

For this type of study informed consent is not required.


  1. 1.
    Reeser JC, Joy EA, Porucznik CA, Berg RL, Colliver EB, Willick SE (2010) Risk factors for volleyball-related shoulder pain and dysfunction. PM R 2(1):27–36. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. 2.
    James LP, Kelly VG, Beckman EM (2014) Injury risk management plan for volleyball athletes. Sports Med 44(9):1185–1195. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. 3.
    Vanderlei FM, Bastos FN, Tsutsumi GY, Vanderlei LC, Netto Junior J, Pastre CM (2013) Characteristics and contributing factors related to sports injuries in young volleyball players. BMC Res Notes 6:415. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. 4.
    Bere T, Kruczynski J, Veintimilla N, Hamu Y, Bahr R (2015) Injury risk is low among world-class volleyball players: 4-year data from the FIVB injury surveillance system. Br J Sports Med 49(17):1132–1137. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. 5.
    Verhagen EA, Van der Beek AJ, Bouter LM, Bahr RM, Van Mechelen W (2004) A one season prospective cohort study of volleyball injuries. Br J Sports Med 38(4):477–481. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. 6.
    Ciesla E, Dutkiewicz R, Mglosiek M, Nowak-Starz G, Markowska M, Jasinski P, Dudek J (2015) Sports injuries in Plus League volleyball players. J Sports Med Phys Fit 55(6):628–638Google Scholar
  7. 7.
    Marwan Y, Behbehani A, Al-Mousawi A, Mulla-Juma’a A, Sadeq H, Shah N (2012) Sports injuries among professional male athletes in Kuwait: prevalence and associated factors. Med Princ Pract 21(2):171–177. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. 8.
    Aagaard H, Jorgensen U (1996) Injuries in elite volleyball. Scand J Med Sci Sports 6(4):228–232CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. 9.
    Augustsson SR, Augustsson J, Thomee R, Svantesson U (2006) Injuries and preventive actions in elite Swedish volleyball. Scand J Med Sci Sports 16(6):433–440. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. 10.
    Yang C, Lee E, Hwang EH, Kwon O, Lee JH (2016) Management of sport injuries with Korean medicine: a survey of Korean national volleyball team. Evid Based Complement Altern Med 2016:8639492. Google Scholar
  11. 11.
    Challoumas D, Stavrou A, Dimitrakakis G (2017) The volleyball athlete’s shoulder: biomechanical adaptations and injury associations. Sports Biomech 16(2):220–237. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. 12.
    Seminati E, Minetti AE (2013) Overuse in volleyball training/practice: a review on shoulder and spine-related injuries. Eur J Sport Sci 13(6):732–743. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. 13.
    Osborne NJ, Gatt IT (2010) Management of shoulder injuries using dry needling in elite volleyball players. Acupunct Med 28(1):42–45. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. 14.
    Moher D, Liberati A, Tetzlaff J, Altman DG, Group P (2009) Preferred reporting items for systematic reviews and meta-analyses: the PRISMA statement. PLoS Med 6(7):e1000097. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. 15.
    OCEBM Levels of Evidence Working Group* (2018) The Oxford Levels of Evidence 2. Oxford Centre for Evidence-Based Medicine. Accessed Dec 2018
  16. 16.
    Aagaard H, Scavenius M, Jorgensen U (1997) An epidemiological analysis of the injury pattern in indoor and in beach volleyball. Int J Sports Med 18(3):217–221. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. 17.
    Agel J, Palmieri-Smith RM, Dick R, Wojtys EM, Marshall SW (2007) Descriptive epidemiology of collegiate women’s volleyball injuries: National Collegiate Athletic Association Injury Surveillance System, 1988–1989 through 2003–2004. J Athl Train 42(2):295–302Google Scholar
  18. 18.
    Bahr R, Karlsen R, Lian O, Ovrebo RV (1994) Incidence and mechanisms of acute ankle inversion injuries in volleyball. A retrospective cohort study. Am J Sports Med 22(5):595–600. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. 19.
    Bahr R, Bahr IA (1997) Incidence of acute volleyball injuries: a prospective cohort study of injury mechanisms and risk factors. Scand J Med Sci Sports 7(3):166–171CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. 20.
    Bahr R, Reeser JC, Federation Internationale de V (2003) Injuries among world-class professional beach volleyball players. The Federation Internationale de Volleyball beach volleyball injury study. Am J Sports Med 31(1):119–125. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. 21.
    Beneka A, Malliou P, Tsigganos G, Gioftsidou A, Michalopoulou M, Germanou E, Godolias G (2007) A prospective study of injury incidence among elite and local division volleyball players in Greece. J Back Musculoskelet Rehabil 20:115–121CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. 22.
    Beneka A, Malliou P, Gioftsidou A, Tsigganos G, Zetou H, Godolias G (2010) Injury incidence rate, severity and diagnosis in male volleyball players. Sport Sci Health 5(3):93–99. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. 23.
    de Loes M (1995) Epidemiology of sports injuries in the Swiss organization “Youth and Sports” 1987–1989. Injuries, exposure and risks of main diagnoses. Int J Sports Med 16(2):134–138CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. 24.
    Foss B, Myer GD, Hewett TE (2014) Epidemiology of basketball, soccer, and volleyball injuries in middle-school female athletes. Phys Sports Med 42(2):146–153. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. 25.
    Huang HYTT, Liang CC (2015) Volleyball injuries: a survey of injuries among male players of the Chinese Taipei National Volleyball Team. Am J Sports Sci 3(6):109–114CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. 26.
    Malliou P, Beneka A, Tsigganos G, Gioftsidou A, Germanou E, Michalopoulou M (2008) Are injury rates in female volleyball players age related? Sport Sci Health 2:113–117CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. 27.
    Reeser JC, Gregory A, Berg RL, Comstock RD (2015) A comparison of women’s collegiate and girls’ high school volleyball injury data collected prospectively over a 4-year period. Sports Health 7(6):504–510. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. 28.
    Schafle MD, Requa RK, Patton WL, Garrick JG (1990) Injuries in the 1987 national amateur volleyball tournament. Am J Sports Med 18(6):624–631. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. 29.
    Solgard L, Nielsen AB, Moller-Madsen B, Jacobsen BW, Yde J, Jensen J (1995) Volleyball injuries presenting in casualty: a prospective study. Br J Sports Med 29(3):200–204CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. 30.
    Tsigganos GBA, Malliou P, Gioftsidou A, Zetou H, Godolias G (2018) Is the incidence in volleyball injuries age related? A prospective study in greek male volleyball players. Physical Training (08). Accessed Dec 2018
  31. 31.
    Watkins J, Green BN (1992) Volleyball injuries: a survey of injuries of Scottish National League male players. Br J Sports Med 26(2):135–137CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. 32.
    Lanese RR, Strauss RH, Leizman DJ, Rotondi AM (1990) Injury and disability in matched men’s and women’s intercollegiate sports. Am J Public Med 80(12):1459–1462Google Scholar
  33. 33.
    Jørgensen U et al (1984) Epidemiology of injuries in typical Scandinavian team sports. J Sports Med 18:59–63Google Scholar
  34. 34.
    Lanese RR, Strauss RH, Leizman DJ, Rotondi AM (1990) Injury and disability in matched men’s and women’s intercollegiate sports. Am J Public Health 80(12):1459–1462CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. 35.
    Backx FJ, Beijer HJ, Bol E, Erich WB (1991) Injuries in high-risk persons and high-risk sports. A longitudinal study of 1818 school children. Am J Sports Med 19(2):124–130. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. 36.
    Chan KM, Yuan Y, Li CK, Chien P, Tsang G (1993) Sports causing most injuries in Hong Kong. Br J Sports Med 27(4):263–267CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. 37.
    de Loes M, Dahlstedt LJ, Thomee R (2000) A 7-year study on risks and costs of knee injuries in male and female youth participants in 12 sports. Scand J Med Sci Sports 10(2):90–97CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. 38.
    Cheron C, Le Scanff C, Leboeuf-Yde C (2017) Association between sports type and overuse injuries of extremities in adults: a systematic review. Chiropr Man Ther 25:4. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. 39.
    Junge A, Langevoort G, Pipe A, Peytavin A, Wong F, Mountjoy M, Beltrami G, Terrell R, Holzgraefe M, Charles R, Dvorak J (2006) Injuries in team sport tournaments during the 2004 Olympic Games. Am J Sports Med 34(4):565–576. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. 40.
    Kujala UM, Taimela S, Antti-Poika I, Orava S, Tuominen R, Myllynen P (1995) Acute injuries in soccer, ice hockey, volleyball, basketball, judo, and karate: analysis of national registry data. BMJ 311(7018):1465–1468CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. 41.
    Nelson NG, Alhajj M, Yard E, Comstock D, McKenzie LB (2009) Physical education class injuries treated in emergency departments in the US in 1997–2007. Pediatrics 124(3):918–925. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. 42.
    Nelson AJ, Collins CL, Yard EE, Fields SK, Comstock RD (2007) Ankle injuries among United States high school sports athletes, 2005–2006. J Athl Train 42(3):381–387Google Scholar
  43. 43.
    Geberich SG, Luhrnann S, Finke C, Priest JD, Beard BJ (1987) Analysis of severe injuries associated with volleyball activities. Phys Sports Med 15:75–79CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  44. 44.
    Gross P, Marti B (1999) Risk of degenerative ankle joint disease in volleyball players: study of former elite athletes. Int J Sports Med 20(1):58–63. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  45. 45.
    Jargensen U, Schmidt-Olsen S (1986) The epidemiology of ice hockey injuries. J Sports Med 20:7–9Google Scholar
  46. 46.
    Ferretti A, Papandrea P, Conteduca F, Mairani PP (1992) Knee ligament injuries in volleyball players. Am J Sports Med 20(2):203–207CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  47. 47.
    Lian OB, Engebretsen L, Bahr R (2005) Prevalence of jumper’s knee among elite athletes from different sports: a cross-sectional study. Am J Sports Med 33(4):561–567. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  48. 48.
    van der Worp H, van Ark M, Zwerver J, van den Akker-Scheek I (2012) Risk factors for patellar tendinopathy in basketball and volleyball players: a cross-sectional study. Scand J Med Sci Sports 22(6):783–790. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  49. 49.
    Lindenfeld TN, Schmitt DJ, Hendy MP, Magine RE, Noyes RF (1994) Incidence of injury in soccer. Am J Sports Med 22:364–371CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  50. 50.
    Hale SA (2005) Etiology of patellar tendinopathy in athletes. J Sport Rehabil 14:258–272CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  51. 51.
    Zahradnik D, Jandacka D, Uchytil J, Farana R, Hamill J (2015) Lower extremity mechanics during landing after a volleyball block as a risk factor for anterior cruciate ligament injury. Phys Ther Sport 16(1):53–58. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  52. 52.
    Anderson MW, Alford BA (2010) Overhead throwing injuries of the shoulder and elbow. Radiol Clin N Am 48(6):1137–1154. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  53. 53.
    Wang HK, Cochrane T (2001) A descriptive epidemiological study of shoulder injury in top level English male volleyball players. Int J Sports Med 22(2):159–163. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  54. 54.
    Hawkins RJ, Kennedy JC (1980) Impingement syndrome in athletes. Am J Sports Med 8(3):151–158. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  55. 55.
    Rokito AS, Jobe FW, Pink MM, Perry J, Brault J (1998) Electromyographic analysis of shoulder function during the volleyball serve and spike. J Shoulder Elb Surg 7:256–263CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  56. 56.
    Eerkes K (2012) Volleyball injuries. Curr Sports Med Rep 11(5):251–256. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  57. 57.
    Schmidt CP, Zwingenberger S, Walther A, Reuter U, Kasten P, Seifert J, Gunther KP, Stiehler M (2014) Prevalence of low back pain in adolescent athletes—an epidemiological investigation. Int J Sports Med 35(8):684–689. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  58. 58.
    Haus BM, Micheli LJ (2012) Back pain in the pediatric and adolescent athlete. Clin Sports Med 31:423–440CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  59. 59.
    Law T, Anthony MP, Chan Q, Samartzis D, Kim M, Cheung KM, Khong PL (2013) Ultrashort time-to-echo MRI of the cartilaginous endplate: technique and association with intervertebral disc degeneration. J Med Imaging Radiat Oncol 57(4):427–434. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  60. 60.
    Swenson DM, Yard EE, Collins CL, Fields SK, Comstock RD (2010) Epidemiology of US high school sports-related fractures, 2005–2009. Clin J Sport Med 20(4):293–299. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  61. 61.
    Bhairo NH, Nijsten MW, van Dalen KC, ten Duis HJ (1992) Hand injuries in volleyball. Int J Sports Med 13(4):351–354. CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Italia S.r.l., part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of OrthopaedicsRWTH Aachen University ClinicAachenGermany
  2. 2.Department of General SurgeryEifelklinik St. BrigidaSimmerathGermany
  3. 3.Department of CardiosurgeryRWTH Aachen University ClinicAachenGermany
  4. 4.Department of Orthopaedic SurgeryEifelklinik St. BrigidaSimmerathGermany

Personalised recommendations