High risk of knee injuries in AFLW

Women playing in the newly formed AFLW are at higher risk of knee injuries than elite male players, new figures show.

AFLW players in action.

Women playing in the newly formed AFLW are at higher risk of knee injuries than elite male players. (AAP)

Women playing in the AFLW competition are at a high risk of knee injuries with an average of one player per club forced to end their season early because of injury.

In the first season of the AFLW eight players tore the anterior cruciate ligament in their knees and this year the number hit nine, a report released on Wednesday showed.

Currently there are eight teams in the AFLW competition.

"We know that women playing this sport are at greater risk of a serious knee injury than male AFL players," La Trobe University Professor Kay Crossley told AAP.

The physiotherapist said women in general are more prone to ACL tears in high intensity sports and there are a range of factors including less exposure to training, strength issues and anatomy.

"A lot of the female players work part-time during the season so they don't have the same strict regime including knee strength training that AFL players have," Professor Crossley said.

But she said as more women start playing from a young age and continuing to play through to an elite level there would be more pathways to help manage their injury risks.

"Injury prevention is really critical and what we're working on at the moment with the AFLW is a trial program to be introduced next season," the La Trobe professor said.

The data in the report would be used to help develop injury reduction and prevention programs, the head of AFL women's football Nicole Livingstone said.

"The data provided in the report will directly influence what areas of research the AFL will fund with concussion and ACL injury rates a high priority," she said.

Published 26 September 2018 at 9:40pm
Source: AAP