Aussies love sport! Sport is such an integral part of individual lives and for our community, it promotes good health, fitness and wellbeing and reduces our risk for chronic disease. However it can sometimes come with it’s risks, a trade off sometimes between improved general health and reduced disease risk comes with increased risk of injury for those of us that hit the court or field.  

600,000 people aged over 15 participate in netball across Australia each year. For Netballers the most common areas that are injured are our lower legs, wrist, hand and fingers. For every 1000 hours of netball played 14 injuries occur.

The most common causes of injuries in netball are awkward landings, slips/falls, collisions/player contact, overexertion, overuse and being hit by the ball. The most common types of injuries are sprains, bruising, fractures and dislocations. 

Fractures and soft tissue injuries to the lower limb (hip down) accounted for 57% of hospitalizations for netballers in 2016-17, with 43% of the remaining injuries from trunk up, including head and neck. Fractures were the most common injury to present to hospital (51%), followed by ACL rupture (32%) and Achilles tendon injury (11%). The rest of hospital admissions were dislocations, abrasions/lacerations, concussions and other injuries.

Here at Sports & Spinal the most common injury types

The ones we see are from overexertion, overuse and acute injuries like sprains/strains. For netball the top 5 injuries for netball are:

  • Anterior knee pain- commonly from patellofemoral (kneecap) and fat pad irritation
  • Ankle sprains- from rolled ankles with awkward landing or from landing on your opponent’s foot
  • Achilles pain- commonly from overloading to quickly resulting in tendinopathy
  • Foot pain- again from overloading the area too quickly resulting in plantar fasciitis 
  • Lateral hip pain- another overuse injury 

Tips to reduce risk of injury

  • Undertake training prior to play, get the body ready, fit and strong to withstand physical requirements of netball. This usually takes a couple of months with formal netball training sessions with skill work and netball drills, along with personal fitness training to address areas requiring more specialised attention (aerobic fitness, muscle strength, endurance and power, flexibility and balance). 
  • Warm-up well. Recent research has shown that appropriate warm-ups reduce the risk of injury by 48%.
  • Learn correct netball techniques when it comes to landing, passing and catching. This may sound very boring, but having a really good base of technique and skills can reduce injury. 

After injury occurs

  • Seek prompt care from the 1st aider at your game to start initial and early care. Having access to early care can reduce the length and severity of injury, getting you back on the court earlier.
  • Book an appointment with your preferred medical/allied health provider to start early rehab, and receive education on your injury. This can help you understand what to expect and the progress that you will make with your injuries. 
  • Before returning to play you should be fully rehabilitated and returned to full training

Most importantly enjoy your netball!!

Resources

https://www.aihw.gov.au/getmedia/1f7b097d-b486-42f8-a05d-4e29cdcfbcf1/aihw-injcat-211.pdf.aspx?inline=true

https://sma.org.au/resources-advice/netball/

Netball Australia and Netball Victoria 

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Plantar Fasciitis 
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The Ligament, how it’s injured and how it heals

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