Volleyball

01 Overview

Volleyball is played around the world. It has been an Olympic sport since 1964 and is governed locally by Volleyball BC. A team sport played by two teams with a ball separated by a net, gameplay requires specific movements including jumping, landing, blocking, and spiking. These maneuvers place high demand on a players’ body, and thus, may increase the risk for volleyball-related injury. Sprains and strains are the most common injuries in volleyball.

(see Section 04 - Prevention)
Athlete silhouette
View Common Injuries by clicking the blue dots on the silhouette

Both acute and overuse knee injuries are common in volleyball. Specific knee injuries that can occur include anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) injuries (sprains or tears) and knee pain (patellar tendinopathy or Jumper’s knee), the latter of which occurs more often among males compared to females.

While not common, head injuries can occur during volleyball and can include sustaining a concussion.

Ankle sprains are very common among volleyball players. Male volleyball players are at higher risk for ankle injuries than females.

Shoulder injuries occur in volleyball due to the overhead nature of some movements, particularly spiking maneuvers.

02 Injury Statistics

Volleyball injuries can be both acute (sudden) and overuse in nature, with ankle sprains being the most common acute injury, and knee and shoulder injuries being the most common overuse injuries. Common mechanisms for injury in volleyball include contact with another player, often when a player lands on another player’s foot after the execution of a jump. Overall, injuries in volleyball practice and games occur at a rate of 1 to 10 injuries for every 1,000 hours of play.

Curious about the research on injuries?

It is estimated that...

View Summary of Incidence Rates

03 Risk Factors

  • Previous Injury

    You are nine times more likely to have an ankle injury if you have ever had a previous ankle injury, and ten times more likely if your previous injury was within the past six months.

  • Training Volume

    You are at a greater risk of jumper’s knee injury with increased duration and intensity, including training, practice, and game play. Regular participation in a structured exercise can help you improve stability around your joints.

  • Game Play

    There is an increased risk of injury during volleyball games compared to practice, due to a higher intensity of activity during game play.

  • Sex

    Males have a three times higher risk of ankle injury, and a three to four times higher risk of jumper’s knee, as compared to females. A good exercise program can help improve your fitness level and reduce the risk of lower extremity injury.

04 How can I prevent injury?

Some muscle soreness or joint pain is expected when increasing your level of physical activity. However, it is important to listen to your body for persistent or worsening pain, and to know when to rest. Learn more about how to prevent injuries in volleyball.

  • Participant & Parent

    Talk to your coach or organization about the prevention strategies below and how they might be incorporated into training and policies.

    Strength Training and Neuromuscular Training Program

    Lower body injuries are common in volleyball. The risk of all lower body injuries may be reduced by up to 50% by regular participation in a balance training exercise program with a resistance training component, such as a neuromuscular training warm-up program. Completing this warm-up program can lower the likelihood of injury.

    Sport Injury Prevention Research Centre Neuromuscular Training
    The Sport Injury Prevention Research Centre has developed a neuromuscular training warm-up program that can be adapted to many sports. Incorporating a warm-up program like this one into your training program at least two times per week has been associated with a significant reduction in lower body injuries.

    Click here to view poster.

     

    Oslo Sport Trauma Research Centre Neuromuscular Training
    The Oslo Sport Trauma Research Centre has developed strength training exercises designed to prevent injuries to the shoulder, knee, ankle, and other areas of the body. This resource includes videos and PDFs for download.

    Learn more about exercises to help prevent shoulder injuries.

    Learn more about exercises to help prevent knee injuries.

    Learn more about exercises to help prevent ankle injuries.

    For more exercises, visit http://fittoplay.org/.

    Get Set Neuromuscular Training
    The Get Set app contains exercises that can be done at home. Created by the Oslo Sports Trauma Center, Norwegian School of Sport Sciences, and Making Waves AS in 2014 for the International Olympic Committee, the app allows you to search by body part to view exercises that work to strengthen each area of the body, or search by sport to view a library of exercises that are specific to volleyball.

    Download Get Set for Android.

    Download Get Set for iOS.

    Managing Concussion

    While concussions are not the most common injury in volleyball, it is important to be aware of concussion signs and symptoms and know what to do if concussion is suspected. The Concussion Awareness Training Tool (CATT) is an online resource for participants and parents to learn more about how to recognize, prevent, and manage a concussion. CATT also includes resources on how to respond to a potential concussion situation, as well as detailed Return to School and Return to Sport protocol.

    Other Considerations (about this section)

    Sport-related Physicals
    Volleyball is a physically demanding sport and some pre-existing conditions may increase the risk of injury. An annual sport-related physical evaluation ensuring fitness to play can help to reduce risk of injury. KidsHealth provides information about what sports physicals are, why they may be appropriate and where you may go to get them.

    Learn more about Kids Health Sports Physicals.

  • Coach & Teacher

    Talk to your organization or school about the prevention strategies below and how they might be incorporated into training and policies.

    Strength Training and Neuromuscular Training Program

    Lower body injuries are common in volleyball. The risk of all lower body injuries may be reduced by up to 50% by regular participation in a balance training exercise program with a resistance training component, such as a neuromuscular training warm-up program. Completing this warm-up program can lower the likelihood of injury.

    Sport Injury Prevention Research Centre Neuromuscular Training
    The Sport Injury Prevention Research Centre has developed a neuromuscular training warm-up program that can be adapted to many sports. Incorporating a warm-up program like this one into your training program at least two times per week has been associated with a significant reduction in lower body injuries.

    Click here to view poster.

     

    Oslo Sport Trauma Research Centre Neuromuscular Training
    Volleyball has a high rate of shoulder injuries. Have your players incorporate shoulder training programs into their warm-ups to increase control, flexibility, and coordination. The Oslo Sport Trauma Research Centre has developed exercises that specifically help reduce the risk of shoulder and knee injuries. This resource includes videos and PDFs for download.

    Learn more about exercises to help prevent shoulder injuries.

    Learn more about exercises to help prevent knee injuries.

    Learn more about exercises to help prevent ankle injuries.

    For more exercises, visit http://fittoplay.org/.

    Get Set Neuromuscular Training
    The Get Set app contains exercises that can be done at home. Created by the Oslo Sports Trauma Center, Norwegian School of Sport Sciences, and Making Waves AS in 2014 for the International Olympic Committee, the app allows you to search by body part to view exercises that work to strengthen each area of the body, or search by sport to view a library of exercises that are specific to volleyball.

    Download Get Set for Android.

    Download Get Set for iOS.

    Managing Concussion

    While concussions are not the most common injury in volleyball, it is important to be aware of concussion signs and symptoms and know what to do if concussion is suspected. The Concussion Awareness Training Tool (CATT) is an online resource for coaches and teachers to learn more about how to recognize, prevent, and manage a concussion. CATT also includes resources on how to respond to a potential concussion situation, as well as detailed Return to School and Return to Sport protocol.

    Other Considerations (about this section)

    Facilities
    The Ontario Physical Education Association (OPHEA) provides recommendations for safely implementing volleyball in secondary schools.

    Learn more about implementing volleyball in your school.

    Sport-related Physicals
    Volleyball is a physically demanding sport and some pre-existing conditions may increase the risk of injury. An annual sport-related physical evaluation ensuring fitness to play can help to reduce risk of injury. KidsHealth provides information about what sports physicals are, why they may be appropriate and where you may go to get them.

    Learn more about Kids Health Sports Physicals.

  • Official & Administrator

    Talk to your coaches, teachers, organization, or school about the prevention strategies below and how they might be incorporated into training and policies.

    Strength Training and Neuromuscular Training Program

    Lower body injuries are common in volleyball. The risk of all lower body injuries may be reduced by up to 50% by regular participation in a balance training exercise program with a resistance training component, such as a neuromuscular training warm-up program. Completing this warm-up program can lower the likelihood of injury.

    Sport Injury Prevention Research Centre Neuromuscular Training
    The Sport Injury Prevention Research Centre has developed a neuromuscular training warm-up program that can be adapted to many sports. Incorporating a warm-up program like this one into your training program at least two times per week has been associated with a significant reduction in lower body injuries.

    Click here to view poster.

     

    Oslo Sport Trauma Research Centre Neuromuscular Training
    Volleyball has a high rate of shoulder injuries. Have your players incorporate shoulder training programs into their warm-ups to increase control, flexibility, and coordination. The Oslo Sport Trauma Research Centre has developed exercises that specifically help reduce the risk of shoulder and knee injuries. This resource includes videos and PDFs for download.

    Learn more about exercises to help prevent shoulder injuries.

    Learn more about exercises to help prevent knee injuries.

    Learn more about exercises to help prevent ankle injuries.

    For more exercises, visit http://fittoplay.org/.

    Get Set Neuromuscular Training
    The Get Set app contains exercises that can be done at home. Created by the Oslo Sports Trauma Center, Norwegian School of Sport Sciences, and Making Waves AS in 2014 for the International Olympic Committee, the app allows you to search by body part to view exercises that work to strengthen each area of the body, or search by sport to view a library of exercises that are specific to volleyball.

    Download Get Set for Android.

    Download Get Set for iOS.

    Managing Concussion

    While concussions are not the most common injury in volleyball, it is important to be aware of concussion signs and symptoms and know what to do if concussion is suspected. The Concussion Awareness Training Tool (CATT) is an online resource for participants, parents, coaches and teachers to learn more about how to recognize, prevent, and manage a concussion. CATT also includes resources on how to respond to a potential concussion situation, as well as detailed Return to School and Return to Sport protocol.

    Other Considerations (about this section)

    Facilities
    The Ontario Physical Education Association (OPHEA) provides recommendations for safely implementing volleyball in schools.

    Learn more about implementing volleyball in your school.

    Sport-related Physicals
    Volleyball is a physically demanding sport and some pre-existing conditions may increase the risk of injury. An annual sport-related physical evaluation ensuring fitness to play can help to reduce risk of injury. KidsHealth provides information about what sports physicals are, why they may be appropriate and where you may go to get them.

    Learn more about Kids Health Sports Physicals.

  • Health Professional

    The role of health professionals in preventing volleyball injuries has two main components:

    1. Providing ongoing education to players and coaches on effective injury prevention programs such as balance and resistance training; and
    2. Ensuring that injured players are completely healed and fit-to-perform before returning to volleyball to prevent re-injury or chronic injury.

    Strength Training and Neuromuscular Training Program

    Lower body injuries are common in volleyball. The risk of all lower body injuries may be reduced by up to 50% by regular participation in a balance training exercise program with a resistance training component, such as a neuromuscular training warm-up program. Completing this warm-up program can lower the likelihood of injury.

    Sport Injury Prevention Research Centre Neuromuscular Training
    The Sport Injury Prevention Research Centre has developed a neuromuscular training warm-up program that can be adapted to many sports. Incorporating a warm-up program like this one into your training program at least two times per week has been associated with a significant reduction in lower body injuries

    Click here to view poster.

     

    Oslo Sport Trauma Research Centre Neuromuscular Training
    Volleyball has a high rate of shoulder injuries. Encourage incorporating shoulder training programs into warm-ups to increase control, flexibility, and coordination. The Oslo Sport Trauma Research Centre has developed exercises that specifically help reduce the risk of shoulder and knee injuries. This resource includes videos and PDFs for download.

    Learn more about exercises to help prevent shoulder injuries.

    Learn more about exercises to help prevent knee injuries.

    Learn more about exercises to help prevent ankle injuries.

    For more exercises, visit http://fittoplay.org/.

    Get Set Neuromuscular Training
    The Get Set app contains exercises that can be done at home. Created by the Oslo Sports Trauma Center, Norwegian School of Sport Sciences, and Making Waves AS in 2014 for the International Olympic Committee, the app allows you to search by body part to view exercises that work to strengthen each area of the body, or search by sport to view a library of exercises that are specific to volleyball.

    Download Get Set for Android.

    Download Get Set for iOS.

    Managing Concussion

    While concussions are not the most common injury in volleyball, it is important to be aware of concussion signs and symptoms and know what to do if concussion is suspected. The Concussion Awareness Training Tool (CATT) is an online resource to learn more about how to diagnose and manage a concussion. CATT also includes resources on how to assess a potential concussion, as well as detailed Return to School and Return to Sport protocol.

    Other Considerations (about this section)

    Sport-related Physicals
    Volleyball is a physically demanding sport and some pre-existing conditions may increase the risk of injury. A sport-related physical evaluation at the beginning of each season ensuring fitness to play can help to reduce risk of injury. The American Academy of Pediatrics provides information about preparticipation physical evaluation.

    Learn more about Preparticipation Physical Evaluation.