With the AFL finals being played this week, we are likely to see some intense physical clashes as clubs compete for the 2018 Premiership. At this time of year, many of our local competitions are also wrapping up & the footy at these levels is often just as intense.
Each year the AFL releases data on the seasons injuries;
- The Hip/Groin/Thigh is the most commonly injured area (29% of all new injuries), with hamstring strains accounting 14% of all new injuries
- Injuries to the Hip/Groin/Thigh account for 34.9 (22%) missed games, with hamstrings accounting for 19.1 (12%)
- Shin/ankle/foot is also commonly injured and accounts for 26% of all new injuries. These injuries account for 42.4 (27%) of games missed
- Knee injuries, whilst only accounting for 5.3 (14%) of injuries account for a significant number of games missed (37.4 games or 24%)
- Lower limb injuries account for 68% of all injuries
- Many of the remaining injuries are thought to be secondary to contact, for example fractures of the forearm, wrist and hand
- Concussions have been on a steady rise in recent years, partly due to increased recording and raised awareness of the effects of concussion
The most common injuries we see in our Practice are hamstring, groin, hip & shoulder – injuries not unique to this one code of football. These injuries are also the most prevalent at the elite level, accounting for a quarter of the injuries seen in AFL players in the 2015 season.
SO, WHAT CAN BE DONE FOR INJURY PREVENTION?
We would prefer to prevent a football injury from occurring in the first place rather than treating it after it has already happened. The risk of further injury increases after an initial injury so it is important that injury prevention is part of training. This is something that is already occurring in AFL clubs and something we advocate to our patients;
- Warm-up strategies
- Sport-specific drills
- Strength and Conditioning
- Joint range of movement; Muscle flexibility; Balance & Proprioception
If you, a family member, friend or team mate do happen to get injured on the football field, having the injury assessed & treated as quickly as possible by your local Physiotherapist will give you the best chances of a speedy recovery & get you back on the field playing the game you love.