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Number of ACL injuries in AFLW a "major concern" says former Olympics doctor


Leading Australian sports clinician and researcher Dr Peter Brukner admits the number of ACL injuries in the AFLW is concerning.

Dr Brukner, who was worked with Liverpool, the Socceroos and Australia’s Olympic Team as well as Melbourne and Collingwood in the AFL, says recent statistics showed females in sport were more likely to incur injury.

“It’s a major concern and we’re all working hard to prevent them,” he said on SEN SA Breakfast.

“The AFL men’s clubs have about one a year, it’s a longer season but statistics have shown in the past that women who are playing the same sports are far more likely to get an ACL injury.

“That’s for a whole bunch of reasons, partly mechanical, including the broader hips and more of an angle at the knee then maybe a hormonal component.”

AFLW stars Erin Phillips and Nina Morrison ruptured their ACLs during the 2019 season, while Adelaide captain Chelsea Randall was recently ruled out of the 2020 season due to a rupture sustained in training.

Statistics over the past two years show that there is an average of one ACL injury per AFLW club each season.

Dr Brukner believes the lack of time spent exclusively at the club is a contributor to the number of injuries.

“In a way if they have a little more time at the club it might assist,” he said.

“Part of the problem is that they don’t have a lot of time training wise. They’ve only got limited time at the club and it’s a balance, trying to get the prevention work done and all the other skill work and fitness work.”

Dr Brukner is optimistic, however, that the number of injuries will reduce as females become more accustomed to football.

“The other thing with the AFLW is that there’s a lack of football. They haven’t learnt to jump and land and tackle at an early age and many of these girls are coming across from other sports in their late teen years and they haven’t learnt those kinds of things as their male counterparts might have,” he said.

“That’s going to change over the next few years.”

Listen to Dr Peter Brukner on SEN SA Breakfast below

Erin Phillips

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