Bandy, with a century-long tradition in northern Europe, is a winter team-sport similar to ice hockey. To investigate the occurrence of injuries during competitive youth bandy games, injury incidence, injury types, and age-related risks were analyzed for one youth league season.
The National Athletic Injury/Illness Reporting System (NAIRS) definition of sports injury was used for the injury registration. All 416 games during the 1999-2000 season in the Swedish southeastern youth bandy league were included in the study. Primary data was collected by a questionnaire and completed by the team coaches after each game. At the end of the season, physician interviews with each team coach were performed to assure that no injuries had been missed as well as to ascertain whether there was any remaining disability.
In total, 2.0 injuries (95% confidence interval 1.2-2.9 injuries) per 1000 player game hours were recorded. Sixty-eight percent of the injuries caused the injured player to be absent from bandy play for more than a week. Collision was the most common cause of injury (36%), and contusion was the most common injury type (41%). The injury incidence in the leagues for older players (Youth 14 -Youth 16) was slightly higher than in the leagues for the younger players (Youth 12 -Youth 13), while participation by under-aged players in games organized for older players led to an almost four-fold increase of injury risk. For severe injuries, the mean rehabilitation time away from bandy practice or competition was 27 d (range 8-56 d).
The overall injury incidence during youth bandy games is low, but the injuries that occur cause extensive absences from the only four months long bandy season. From a public health perspective, bandy can be recommended for consideration when physical exercise is to be promoted among school-age children in countries with a winter climate.