With the introduction of AFLW in 2017 and new exciting opportunities and pathways for young females, we have seen an astronomical surge (530,000 in 2019) in female participation in AFL. Unfortunately, with this rapid rise in participation we have also seen as increase in a number of related injuries; primarily ACL tears and concussion.
In the 2019 AFLW season, ACL tears were recorded as 5.14 per 1000 player hours, which is a reduction on previous years but also substantially higher than other female sports. There are a number of reasons as to why females in AFL are significantly more likely to tear their ACL. Ranging from the anatomy and biomechanics with greater Q angles compared to males, hormonal influences upon ligement laxity and the fact that AFL as a female sport is relatively new. Whereby most girls haven't grown up playing and are not quite used to the high-speed change of direction the sport requires.
Having said all this, YES there are ways you can help reduce your risk of ACL injury! Specifically, Latrobe University has designed an injury prevention program to address the high incidence of ACL injury in female football. This program targets sport specific skills, movement techniques, strength training, load management and education. All of which can be implemented within pre-game warm up drills, pre-season screening and strength training programs. ACL prevention programs have helped reduce the indidence of ACL tears within the AFLW/ALF competitions.
Here at The Sports Injury Clinic, we want to keep you playing and prevention is key! For more information regarding AFLW specific prevention programs or ACL rehabilitation, book an appointment with one of our experienced Physiotherapists or join our ACL rehabilitation groups. Call us on 9783 9990 or book online.