ACL injuries are very common in Norwegian team handball, in particular among female players. Studies based on interviews of injured players show that most of the injuries occur in a faking/cutting movement or landing from a jump and without direct body-contact. However, observational studies of the injury mechanisms for ACL injuries are currently not available.
The purpose of this study is to analyze the injury mechanisms and the playing situations for ACL injuries in female team handball. All ACL injuries in 60 semi-professional or amateur teams (942 players) in the three upper divisions for women in Norwegian team handball were recorded during the 1998-99 season (June-May). All the injured players participated in a personal or telephone interview done by physiotherapists, based on a standardized questionnaire. Among the information requested in each case was personal data, playing situation and mechanism of injury. In addition, information on associate ligament injuries, meniscal injuries or osteochondral injuries were obtained from the operating surgeon. Videos of ACL injuries were also collected through a systematic search of Norwegian TV station archives and through contacts in the handball environment.
Three knee experts (MDs with ACL clinical and research experience) and three handball experts (national team coaches) analyzed the videos independently in order to describe the injury mechanisms and playing situations using standardized forms. The physicians analysis the injury mechanisms at the time of the injury particularly to the knee biomechanics, while the coaches analysis the playing situations particularly to look after something unusual in the situation. The method is new for this project and has never been tested for reliability or validity. Therefore, we will do tests for reliability of the method, and data from the questionnaire will be used to test the validity. Data from this study are important for planning prevention attempt, either its applied a specific exercises program or tactical/technical changes.