Water Polo Injuries and Training Methods

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Abstract

Water polo is a unique team sport combining swimming sprints and eggbeater kicking, frequent overhead movements and throwing, and regular physical contact with minimal protective equipment. Accordingly, a wide variety of training methods attempt to enhance all of these skill sets. This usually includes some combination of aerobic/anaerobic fitness (via swimming), sport-specific skills, strengthening, and nutrition. In addition, injuries in water polo are somewhat diverse. Physical contact is responsible for the majority of acute injuries, most frequently being injuries to the head and face. The high prevalence of shoulder pain in water polo is likely related to increased shoulder mobility and subsequent instability and stress on shoulder structures, yet the underlying causation is not certain. The unique aspect of shoulder injuries occurring in water polo players is that they may be due to a combination of swimming-related overuse conditions, overhead throwing, and acute trauma-related conditions. Although there is generally minimal evidence-based information available, this article attempts to highlight the current knowledge that we have in regard to water polo injuries and training methods.

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