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Injury Risk in Young Netball Players

Chris Purcell
March 31, 2022

Netball is a great way to learn team based skills, get fit and enjoy socialising but unfortunately some players are at increased risk of injury than others. If you have a young netball player in your family, then this article explains why injury could occur, what to look out for and what to do.

What are the major risk factors for injury?
One of the biggest risk factors for injury is having sustained an injury in the past. We don’t know exactly why this is, but the most likely cause is underlying musculoskeletal factors that weren’t completely rehabilitated before returning to sport. Another risk, though one we can’t do much about, is age. At the age of 13/14 our risk of injury in netball increases and this is likely due to growth spurts that are typical around that time (Franettovich et al., 2020).

What areas are injured most?
Across community netball, the ankle and the knee are the most commonly injured with around 40% of those injuries represented by ankle sprains (Finch et al., 2002). When looking specifically at younger age groups, the forearm, wrist and hand are just as common due to ball strikes and falls.

What can I do about this?
The first step is recognising if your child is at risk of injury. The following questions are all good things to think about when looking at injury risk.

  • Have they had an injury in the past 12 months?
  • Have they had or are having a growth spurt?
  • Do I know if my child has ligament laxity or seems to be very bendy at the fingers, elbows, knees and/or feet (Smith et al., 2005)?
  • Is this the first sport my child is playing? 
  • How many other sports or extra fitness based activities is my child doing? 
  • Does the coach implement a warm up for training and games?
  • Does my child appear to be fatigued, eat less and is female around menstrual age but appears delayed or has lost their cycle? (Mountjoy et al., 2018)
  • When was the last time my child had an eye test?

Take home message

If your child is reporting pain and it does not seem to be getting better on its own, call our clinic or book online to see one of our friendly physiotherapists. Our physiotherapists are trained to assess and treat a number of musculoskeletal conditions that can occur during the netball season as well as create exercise programs to reduce the risk of injury. 

See our other blog post: Common Injuries in the younger population for information on specific injuries and areas of the body to look out for with your child. 

Yours in health
Hannah and the team from Out of the Box Physiotherapy

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