This systematic review and meta-analysis aimed to assess the effectiveness of exercise-based injury prevention programmes in preventing sports injuries in team handball players.
Two independent researchers performed a systematic search in the electronic databases Scopus, PubMed, Web of Science (WOS), SPORTDiscus, and CINAHL from inception until Aprile 2023.
Studies were included if they were randomized-controlled or prospective cohort trials, contained a population of competitive team handball players, included an intervention designed specifically to prevent or reduce the risk of team handball injury, and reported injury incidence rates specific to team handball players. Two researchers independently assessed trials for inclusion criteria and methodological quality.
Study design, intervention details, participant characteristics, and the number of injuries in each group were extracted from each study by two independent researchers. The outcome of interest was the incidence rate of injury. Injury data were classified into 5 groups: lower extremity injuries, shoulder injuries, knee injuries, ankle sprains, or ACL injuries. Extracted data were analyzed by Comprehensive Meta-Analysis software, version 3.0 (CMA.V2) using a random-effects model to compute the overall effect estimates of injury prevention programmes in reducing the risk of injuries. Odds ratios (ORs) with 95% CIs were calculated based on the number of injuries in each group.
Meta-analyses were conducted independently for each injury classification. Results indicate that prevention programmes significantly reduced the risk of shoulder injuries (OR, 0.56; 95% CI, 0.36-0.87; P = 0.01), lower extremity (OR, 0.59; 95% CI, 0.37-0.98; P = 0.03), knee (OR, 0.53; 95% CI, 0.35-0.78; P = 0.002) and ankle sprains (OR, 0.57; 95% CI, 0.40-0.81; P = 0.002), and ACL ruptures (OR, 0.67; 95% CI, 0.45-0.97; P = 0.03) in team handball players.
In team handball players, prevention programmes appear effective in reducing the risk of shoulder, lower extremity, knee, ankle, and ACL injuries.
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