Injuries happen in every sport, and we get a fair share of them. A study was done in Australia by Monash University in 2001 on Injury rates and severity amongst Volleyball participants. There is really no comprehensive source of injury data in Australia. This study used insurance claims, and hospital admissions. They also took lots of data from previous studies. This means there are big limitations with these stats, but hey, its all we have and we are going to share them. We have summarised the massive report just a little for you, hopefully provides some interesting stats.
It should be noted that this study isn’t as accurate as it could be. It was very hard for them to document the overuse injuries that occur in volleyball. It’s obvious, and well known that shoulder and knee overuse injuries are very common. However in relation to gathering stats for it, it’s virtually impossible. They got their info from hospital visits and insurance claims, most of this stuff happens directly after an acute injury. Chronic injuries take time to arise and are not as well documented. So most of the statistics we are talking about in this post are from acute injuries (sprains etc).
Who Gets Injured Most?
Here they have quoted some statistics from other recent studies. Amongst kids, when compared to other 37 other sports, Volleyball had much lower injury rates. It ranked 30, and they were much less severe injuries. With less than 8% being treated in hospital. Thats right parents, it’s a safe sport, so get involved.
An interesting one was the comparison from indoor to beach. For all ages, the injury rate for indoor was 4.2/1000 hours, whereas the rate for beach was 4.9/1000 hours. I knew indoor was safer. There was less ankle and finger injuries in beach. It can be assumed this is because there is only one blocker, less likely to have accidents when landing. It also applies to the finger injuries, less blocking, and less forceful hits to rip a finger off with. There were more shoulder injuries in beach. This can be attributed to the fact that you serve and spike a lot more in beach, and having to adjust more often (from wind or a wet ball) resulting in weird shoulder movements.
The level of play seems to be another indicating factor. There was significantly less injuries amongst the elite level. Overall there was more injuries, but simply because they play more, however the rate was much lower. One can assume this is because they are more skilled, better coordination patterns, less likely to jump through the net, can land more efficiently, and more importantly have access to some important resources that the average recreational player doesn’t!
Another conclusion form this study was that you are more likely to get injured at the net. Not so surprising there. You are more likely to get injured blocking and attacking.
What Kind Of Injuries Occur?
Well of all reviewed studies, within the Monash report, the most injured parts of the body were the ankle (17-61%), finger (8-45%), knee (6-59%), shoulder (2-24%), and back (9-18%). Note that there were many different study designed, definitions of injury, participant numbers and source of data. That accounts for the large ranges in percentages I have just shown you!
The most common types of injuries were strains and sprains (64-81%). Following closely behind were fractures and dislocations and overuse injuries. As I mentioned earlier the overuse injuries aren’t well documented in terms of pure stats, and end up being largely under estimated.
If you are interested you can check out the full Monash University Report here, but be warned, it’s 107 pages. It does have some interesting reading further down on prevention and rehabilitation of injuries. We will cover all these in later posts!