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NEWS REPORT: Handball on sand is safer than the indoor game due its playing surface and the different rules, according to an analysis which will be presented at the EHF Scientific Conference in November

‘Reduced risk of knee injury at beach handball’, study finds

When you play handball on sand, the danger of sustaining a severe knee injury like a torn cruciate ligament is significantly lower than indoors.

This assumption, which was researched at the 2017 EHF European Beach Handball Championships in Zagreb, Croatia, has now been validated.

Leonard Achenbach (28), a German former handball player turned trauma surgery doctor at the Regensburg university hospital, has analysed the injuries occurred in Zagreb. He will present the results of this study at the fourth edition of the EHF Scientific Conference on 17-18 November in Vienna.

“It is the first ever injury case study for beach handball so we are trailblazers in this department,” says Achenbach.

He will present his findings at the EHF Scientific Conference in Vienna on 17/18 November (registration is still open until 13 October).

How to prevent injuries

During his medical study in Switzerland, Hungary and Norway, Achenbach played handball on second-division level. But he had to quit the game after picking up a severe knee injury. From that point on, he wanted to know how to prevent injuries like his own.

In Regensburg he is working at the FIFA Medical Centre of Excellence, researching how to prevent injuries, and applying those results to handball. He has published a DVD on injury prevention in handball, working closely with coach lecturers of the German handball federation, including the new sports director and EHF lecturer, Axel Kromer.

Achenbach created a special training programme, which reduced the number of major injuries - especially for young players - between 30 and 50 percent. The results have been validated by a large study.

Burden on the knee

Now Achenbach is focussing on beach handball.

“Mainly due to the sand the burden on the knee is much lower at beach handball compared to indoor handball. Also, the rules of beach handball do not allow as much body contact as at indoor handball. Those are the two main points why the number of severe injuries at beach handball is much lower,” says Achenbach, who will be part of the EHF Scientific Conference for the first time.

The goal of the conference is to bring professional and scientific experts together in order to reflect on all aspects related to the players’ environment - like health science, training science and technology support - as well as to continue the gathering of knowledge about medical aspects in our sport.

Discussing and analysing the scientific approach

Top handball scientists gather in the Austrian capital to discuss and analyse the scientific approach to the players’ environment.

Achenbach will present the first steps of his analysis from the European Beach Handball Championships but this study has not come to an end yet.

“Together with the EHF we will focus on injury prevention in beach handball and to take the right steps for the future,” Achenbach says.

The conference will be crammed with presentations from Europe’s best scientists, including members of the EHF Scientific Network, who have been assisting in the conference’s organisation.

The full programme is available for download.


TEXT: Björn Pazen / ew / ts