Injury Prevalence in Netball: What You Need to Know
Netball is a popular team sport played in the UK, with 140,000 participants weekly.
This game involves seven players on each side and is played for 60 minutes in four 15-minute quarters. It’s a sport with rapid movements, direction changes, and jumping actions, making it unique due to its specific positions and technical skills required.
Injury Rates: Netball is known for having a relatively high rate of lower limb injuries. Ankle and knee injuries, especially ligament damage, are the most common types.
Risk Factors: Several factors increase the risk of injuries in netball players. These include age, sex (females are more susceptible), body composition, previous injuries, physical fitness, anatomy, skill level, and psychological factors. Additionally, the sport’s rules, protective equipment, footwear, and playing environment can contribute to injury risks.
Types of Injuries: Ligament injuries, particularly to the ankle and anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) in the knee, are the most common and can lead to long-term issues. ACL injuries can result in significant time away from the game and often requires surgery. Ankle ligament injuries are very common and should be assessed and rehabilitated fully before returning to court to reduce the risk of future injury. This may also require using a brace or support.
Screening and Prevention: To mitigate injury risks, functional performance tests (FPTs) are used to identify athletes at higher risk. These tests evaluate a players ability to control their movements during specific exercises. Examples include the single-leg squat, hop tests, tuck jump assessment, and video drop jump screening test.
Injury Prevention Programs: Injury prevention programs ideally should be completed by all players even if they haven’t had an injury before. There are specific injury prevention programs, such as the England Netball Jump High, Land Strong and Netball Australia KNEE Program, designed for netball players. These programs focus on improving technique during take-off, landing, deceleration, and direction changes. They aim to optimize biomechanics and reduce injury risks.
England Netball Jump High Land Strong
Netball Australia KNEE program