Context: Anterior cruciate ligament (ACL)-injury rate is greater among female athletes than among male athletes.
Objective: To investigate the rate and risk of ACL injury among Slovenian sportswomen playing professional basketball, team handball, or volleyball.
Design: Prospective cohort study.
Setting: The Slovenian National Organizations of basketball, team handball, and volleyball.
Patients or other participants: During the 2003-2004 season, we prospectively followed 585 Slovenian sportswomen registered in the Slovenian National Organizations of basketball, team handball, and volleyball.
Main outcome measure(s): We asked sportswomen and coaches to document the occurrence of every significant traumatic knee injury requiring medical attention. Injury rate and injury risk were calculated for sportswomen in each sport group. To calculate injury rate, we estimated the average exposure of each sportswoman during the research period.
Results: During the 2003-2004 season, 585 Slovenian sportswomen sustained 12 ACL injuries. The ACL-injury risk was different in athletes participating in the various sports, with basketball players having the greatest ACL-injury risk and volleyball players having the lowest ACL-injury risk (P = .04). The risk of ACL injury among Slovenian sportswomen was 2.1 per 100 athletes (95% confidence interval = 0.9, 3.2), whereas the rate of ACL injury was 0.037 per 1000 exposure hours (95% confidence interval = 0.016, 0.06).
Conclusions: Overall differences in injury risk were found among sports, but no differences were noted among divisions within sports. No differences for injury rate were observed between or within sports. The rate and risk of ACL injury among Slovenian sportswomen are high, with basketball players having the greatest ACL-injury risk.