The volleyball variation known as cachibol is not the harmless sport popular among women that it is thought to be. Orthopedic surgeons and anesthesiologists at Meir Medical Center in Kfar Saba warn that it can be very dangerous and cause more injuries than volleyball and related sports.Writing in the February issue of The Israel Medical Association Journal, Drs. Uri Farkash, Oleg Borisov, Iftach Hetsroni, Ezequiel Palmanovichy, Edna Zohar and Meir Nyska conducted a cross-sectional survey and observational cohort study of 612 amateur cachibol players participating in a threeday national tournament. A total of 355 completed questionnaires related to traumatic injuries they suffered during previous cachibol activity.The doctors found that 54 percent of the players had suffered injuries to their fingers due to direct hits by the ball; fingers were the most-commonly hurt part of their bodies.Even if they were initially only mildly hurt, the researchers found that over 50% of the injured players reported longterm finger discomfort. After fingers, ankles and knees were the most injured. The women with injured ankles and knees were absent from sports activity and work at a high rate and for a longer time compared to finger injuries.The team ball game has similar characteristics to volleyball and was introduced in 1895 by Clara Gregory Baer, a physical education pioneer at Sophie Newcomb College in Louisiana.While the aim of both games it to get the ball into the opposite court over the net, players are allowed to catch cachibol balls in their hands for up to one second, not only to volley, pass, hit or strike the ball as in volleyball. The same type of ball is used in both sports.It doesn’t matter what age or level of fitness one may be to play cachibol, the article said, but in Israel, it has become popular among older women. Thousands of Israeli women have joined teams and participate weekly in several amateur leagues, including at the workplace, and it is the fastest-growing sport for women in the country. There is even a league called Mamanet designed specifically for young mothers. While regular exercise is regarded as beneficial, and friendly competition is desirable, the growing number of injuries related to cachibol is worrisome, the researchers said. “Further research should focus on the mechanism of finger injuries” among players to identify risk factors that are modifiable, so that injury-prevention programs can be created to reduce the risks, they wrote.