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The statistics on serious injuries in handball show that there are many. Especially in the context of other sports. The game offers many abrupt twists and hard duels that carry with it a risk of strain injuries and acute injuries. We see that the injuries come not only at a later age, but also in the youngest players.
The debate about injury prevention, and with whom responsibility really lies, is well underway. Most "on the pitch" agree that we need more research in this area and that the number of injuries is far too high. We talk to Rikke Skiri Østigård, who now plays for Rælingen HK, to get close to someone with first-hand experience in the area.
Rikke experienced a ruptured cruciate ligament at the age of 18. At this time she played for the junior national team, molde's women's team and the club's third division team. The injury occurred during a national team match in Lithuania. What follows is one year of training, in close cooperation with physiotherapists and the club. After a year of long and thorough training, Rikke receives the go-ahead from a doctor to train as usual. Two weeks later, she ruptures her cruciate ligament again, in the same knee.
Rikke has experienced having to juggle national teams, school and two different teams within the same club. This sounds fierce, and she confirms that. "When you have to balance handball, work and school, you have limited training time, and then time is not given priority."
When asked if she thinks the clubs take responsibility for including injury prevention training at a young age, she replies, "Most teams have run 10 minutes injury prevention as part of warm-up for training. But it helps so little if the overall load is too great. You have the physical aspect, but also the psychological pressure of having to perform in all arenas."
I'm sure there's a lot of people who can recognize themselves. Are there any unhealthy attitudes to overloading the body in handball? Is there an unculture around prioritizing becoming the best rather than taking care of the body? 'You're so inexperienced that you don't understand that your body doesn't take that strain. No one helped me understand, or facilitated me to take a rest day or skip a fight. I wish someone said that to me and there needs to be another change," Østigård replies.
It is clear that this is a problem, and one can discuss who really sits with the responsibility for preventing injuries and creating healthy attitudes in young handball players. Rikke points to past experiences with handball cups where they often played up to 2-3 matches in one day, over an extended period of time. To this, Rikke replies: "As a young and hungry player, it is difficult to even understand when enough is enough, and one wants to make a mark. Your own responsibility set aside, someone has to step in and reality-orienting you."
How can we as parents and coaches support our children in forming healthy routines and attitudes towards the physical and psychological pressure suffered in sport? What are you thinking?
Posted on Facebook 02.05.2019
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