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Volleyball: An All-American Sport

Young women playing volleyball inside gym

Volleyball is one of the most popular sports in the world, and it got its start in the United States. In 1895, a YMCA instructor created the game by blending elements of basketball, baseball, tennis, and handball. Today, the US is the only country to have won a medal at every Olympic games since 1984 in at least one volleyball competition. Indoor volleyball and beach volleyball are both official Olympic sports and sitting volleyball has been played at the Paralympics since 1988.

Volleyball is a physically demanding aerobic sport that can burn around 400 calories an hour. Running after the ball and hitting it over the net work out the legs, arms, shoulders, and chest.

Many people join organized teams in their community or school, but others play informal games with friends on the beach, at the pool, or in their own backyard. All you need is a net, a ball, and at least 2 players.

Keeping it safe

According to, volleyball is one of the safest sports and the rate of injury is very low. But to protect yourself from bumps and bruises, you can opt for knee pads, elbow pads, and/or padded shorts. Mouth guards and goggles add extra protection.

The American Cancer Society medical and editorial content team

Our team is made up of doctors and oncology certified nurses with deep knowledge of cancer care as well as journalists, editors, and translators with extensive experience in medical writing.