29 Jan Common Injuries Every Female AFL Player Should be Aware Of
Over 400,000 females now participate in AFL throughout Australia and as that exciting number begins to grow, we also need to be aware of how to prevent injuries as the game develops.
Each female AFL player will be unique in their physical strengths and weaknesses, however according to Accredited Sports Scientist Ben Brugman, there are some common injuries which every female AFL player should be aware of and make every attempt to avoid.
“Unfortunately, injuries are all part of sport but there are some injuries which we see over and over again and can usually be prevented through the right training and recovery. These injuries differ from in-game injuries such as concussion or hurting your arm and shoulder, these are injuries that come about with poor preparation.”
Top Four Most Common Injuries Among Female AFL Players
Patellar tendinitis is an injury to the tendon connecting your patella or kneecap to your shinbone. The patellar tendon works with the muscles at the front of your thigh to extend your knee so that you can kick, run and jump.
“Patellar tendinitis is very commonly found in AFL players as they do a lot of impact movements including jumping and stop/start running,” says Ben.
Achilles tendinitis is an overuse injury of the Achilles tendon, the band of tissue that connects calf muscles at the back of the lower leg to your heel bone.
“Once again your Achilles is one of the most used parts of your body when it comes to AFL, players can put a lot of stress on this part of the body with high intensity runs that involve a lot of change of direction.”
Lower Back Injuries
“When it comes to lower back problems, these can often be ignored or excused as part of general life, but left unmanaged can really have a detrimental effect on your performance. Your back is the literal back bone of your body, without it working in top condition, the rest will fail.”
Anterior Cruciate Ligament (ACL)
An ACL injury is a tear or sprain of the anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) — one of the major ligaments in your knee.
“Unfortunately, ACL injuries are all too common in female AFL players and much of this can be avoided through the right training and preparation. According to the ALFW Injury Report, it was stated that in 2018 there was 6.47 ACL injuries per 1000 player hours compared to 1.11 ACL injuries per 1000 player hours in men!”
“It’s incredibly important to seek out the support of an accredited exercise professional to provide you with the right training program. As an amateur player or someone who has set their sights on reaching the higher levels, you need to get your body in the right shape as well as hone your skills in the game,” says Ben.
“We are all unique in how our body works, but there are some consistent ways which we can prepare for any sport not just AFL.”
Ben’s Top Female AFL Training Tips:
Warm Up Properly
A body is just not designed to go from zero to full capacity, we need to get it moving slowly and effectively to avoid injuries. A warm-up should be dynamic making your entire body move – some great ideas for warm-ups can be found here.
Foam Rolling and Stretching
The research is starting to grow on the benefits of foam rolling on the body. Whilst current research is limited, foam rolling can be more effective at increasing flexibility when compared to static and dynamic stretching. Read more about this here.
Balance and Agility
It’s all very well trying to be the fastest and strongest, but what about the most nimble? By training your body to adapt and withstand a range of movements you are injury-proofing your body for the future.
Want more professional help?
If you would like to talk to an accredited exercise professional to help maximise your body’s potential, click here.
We have partnered with Nike Australia Pty Ltd for this article series.
The views expressed in this article, unless otherwise cited, are exclusively those of the author, Exercise & Sports Science Australia (ESSA). ESSA is a professional organisation committed to establishing, promoting and defending the career paths of tertiary trained exercise and sports science practitioners.
Nike had no role in the collection, analysis, or interpretation of data or research or the writing of this article.