Handball is a team sport in which players are exposed to high physical conditioning requirements and several contacts and collisions, so they must face various musculoskeletal injuries throughout their career. The aim of this study was to summarize the characteristics of handball injuries both in training and in competition contexts, differentiating by gender and age. A systematic review was conducted and a total of 15 studies (33 cohorts) met the inclusion criteria. Higher injury incidence was reported during matches compared to training sessions in all groups (i.e., male and female senior and youth players), with male senior players presenting the greatest values. Lower extremities were more frequently injured, being contusions and sprains the most common type of injuries. Females reported more serious injuries than males, who presented a higher percentage of acute injuries caused by direct contact, while in female players these injuries were not caused by direct contact actions. Wings and backs presented the highest injury incidence; additionally, players registered higher match incidence during international championships compared to national leagues. Due to the differences in the injury profile of handball players, specific preventive strategies should be implemented for each group to optimize the injury prevention process.
Keywords: incidence; risk factors; team sport.