Defence: Understanding volleyball injuries

PhD-candidate Christopher Skazalski will present research from his thesis project "Load monitoring and jumper’s knee in elite male volleyball players", where he explores the relationship between load patterns and the resulting tendon injuries in shoulder and knees.



March 23


Aud. Innsikt, NIH




Volleyball is a fast-paced, hard-hitting sport that requires its athletes to perform a large volume of jumps and overhead attacks. As a result, most injuries in volleyball involve the ankle, knee, back, hand/fingers, and shoulder – comprising about 70% of all injuries within the sport. Injury risk management approaches may want to focus on these common injury locations to achieve maximum results.

Ankle sprains are the most common type of acute volleyball injury. To best understand the sport specific factors involved with ankle sprains, it is recommended to perform a detailed video analysis of actual injury situations, since there is limited validity of questionnaire data from players and witnesses to provide this important contextual information. The repetitive nature of jumping within the sport has long been believed to be associated with knee problems (i.e., jumper’s knee).

A commercially available device to measure jump load has garnered significant adoption within the sport, but still needs to be validated in this population of professional players. Additionally, position and individual jump variability among professional players has not been investigated and individualjump demands are unknown. Despite the prevalence of shoulder problems in volleyball, prospective studies examining associated risk factors are almost non-existent. Finally, the knee, low back, and shoulder account for most overuse injuries in volleyball; unfortunately, previous studies utilized methodology that failed to examine the extent of their injury burden and impact on performance. Research using appropriate methods to capture the true prevalence of overuse complaints among elite players is needed; how these complaints change throughout the season is also, unknown.

The overall aim of this thesis was to provide valuable insights into the etiology of volleyball injuries, which lays the foundation for managing injury risk within the highest levels of the sport. We focused on injury burden, risk factors, and mechanisms leading to common injuries and complaints among elite volleyball players.


The thesis is based on the following articles: 

  1. Skazalski C, Kruczynski J, Bahr MA, Bere T, Whiteley R, Bahr R. Landing-related ankle injuries do not occur in plantarflexion as once thought: a systematic video analysis of ankle injuries in world-class volleyball. Br J Sports Med. 2018;52:74-82. doi: 10.1136/bjsports- 2016-097155
  2. Skazalski C, Whiteley R, Hansen C, Bahr R. A valid and reliable method to measure jumpspecific training and competition load in elite volleyball players. Scand J Med Sci Sports. 2018;28:1578-1585. doi: 10.1111/sms.13052
  3. Skazalski C, Whiteley R, Bahr R. High jump demands in professional volleyball – large variability exists between players and player positions. Scand J Med Sci Sports. 2018;28:2293-2298. doi: 10.1111/sms.13255
  4. Skazalski C, Bahr R, Whiteley R. Shoulder complaints more likely in volleyball players with a thickened bursa or supraspinatus tendon neovessels. Scand J Med Sci Sports. 2021;31:480-488. doi: 10.1111/sms.13831
  5. Skazalski C, Whiteley R, Sattler T, Kozamernik T, Bahr R. Playing with pain: knee, low back, and shoulder problems rampant among university and professional volleyball players. (Manuscript in submission. 2022)


  • Professor Olivier Seynnes, Department of Physical Performance, Norwegian School of Sport Sciences (Committee chair)
  • Professor Johannes Zwerver, University Medical Center Groningen (First opponent)
  • Kirsten Lundgren, MD PhD, Lovisenberg Diakonale Hospital (Second opponent)


  • Main: Professor Roald Bahr, Chair of the Oslo Sports Trauma Research Center, Norwegian School of Sport Sciences 
  • Second: Rod Whiteley, PhD, Specialist Sports Physiotherapist, Aspetar


10.15 - 11.00 Trial lecture

"Prehabilitation: fit for surgery"

13.00 - 16.00 Thesis Defence

"Understanding volleyball injuries: The etiology and burden associated with the sport’s most common injuries"

General information

The defence


Contact us

Roald Bahr

Roald Bahr


Phone: +47 23 26 23 02 / +47 915 89 912