Information regarding injuries is valuable to the strength and conditioning and sport science personnel because it may provide insight into their prevention. In order to better understand injuries within a given sport one must not only recognize the “what” and “how often”, but also know when injuries are occurring. This information is especially useful when viewed in relation to the various phases and demands of training and competition.
PURPOSE: The primary purpose of the study was to examine the injury rate among NCAA D-I female volleyball athletes (n = 24) over a span of five academic years. A secondary purpose of this study was to retrospectively examine the effects of the daily training intensity and duration on injury rate.
METHODS: Injury was defined as “any damage to a body part, incurred during volleyball activities, weight training, and other conditioning, which interfered with training and/or competition”. All injuries were evaluated, and recorded by a certified athletic trainer. Injury rate was calculated and expressed as injuries per 100 exposures. Descriptive time-series were constructed by dividing academic years based on specific phases of training and calculating injury rates for each phase. To determine the effect of prescribing practice intensity and duration an A-B phase-contrast design was utilized. Average monthly injury rates for twenty-one months (phase A) and nineteen months (phase B) were analyzed.
RESULTS: Annual injury rate ranged from 0.43 to1.16 injuries per 100 exposures. Time-series analyses revealed four of the five academic years exhibited similar patterns in injury rate. Characteristic spikes in injury rate were observed early during pre-season training and following winter break. Average monthly injury rates were statistically (Tau U= -0.6115) lower, (p = 0.001, 90% CI = [-0.916, -0.307]) following training prescriptions (phase B) compared to baseline (phase A).
CONCLUSION: Although a reduction in injury rate occurred during the second half of the five-year period, patterns in injury occurrence remained similar throughout the duration of the study. Therefore, it seems vulnerable periods may exist at specific times during the training year, and these periods should be identified and addressed when planning and implementing training.