Incidence of injury and pain in referees in German national handball leagues: a cohort study

  • Background: Handball referees play an important role during a handball match. Surprisingly, not much is known about their sports-related injuries and resulting pain, therefore the purpose of our study was to focus on injuries and sports-related pain in referees in German handball leagues. Methods: During the 2018/19 national German handball season, referees of the German Federation of Handball (DHB) were contacted and asked to complete an injury and pain questionnaire on the penultimate matchday of the first and the second round of the season. Results: Seventy referees participated in the study. One in three referees reported an injury during the last year and perceived some form of pain. Of those suffering from pain, 16.7% referees reported chronic pain disorders. During the season, 31.4% of referees incurred an injury and the majority of the 70 referees officiated despite pain (n = 43). Prospectively-enrolled data suggested an incidence of 11.6 (95% CI: 10.3 to 13.0) injuries per 1000 match hours, and 19.0 (95% CI: 16.8 to 21.3) sports-related pain events per 1000 match hours. The most common injuries were foot and knee injuries and a substantial number of the referees (n = 25) reported taking analgesics for the pain. Conclusion: German handball referees are at risk of sports-related injuries with subsequent pain. Considering the injury profile, the incidence of sports-related pain events, and the high physiological demands of refereeing, it appears that prevention programs should be developed and integrated into the routine of the referee.

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Author:Jens Michael HeynGND, Johannes FleckensteinORCiDGND
Parent Title (English):BMC sports science, medicine & rehabilitation
Publisher:BioMed Central
Place of publication:London
Document Type:Article
Date of Publication (online):2021/08/12
Date of first Publication:2021/08/12
Publishing Institution:Universitätsbibliothek Johann Christian Senckenberg
Release Date:2021/11/02
Tag:Biopsychosocial; Epidemiology; Pain management; Play sports; Sports medicine; Team sports
Issue:art. 88
Page Number:7
First Page:1
Last Page:7
The Creative Commons Public Domain Dedication waiver ( applies to the data made available in this article, unless otherwise stated in a credit line to the data.
Open Access funding enabled and organized by Projekt DEAL.
Institutes:Psychologie und Sportwissenschaften
Dewey Decimal Classification:6 Technik, Medizin, angewandte Wissenschaften / 61 Medizin und Gesundheit / 610 Medizin und Gesundheit
Licence (German):License LogoCreative Commons - Namensnennung 4.0