Footy season is upon us and that makes me excited! There is of course a downside to our favorite sports, and they are of course injuries, this is what makes parents, partners and colleagues worried about when they see their loved ones running out on too the field. This data is from a recent injury report of an AFL season in conjunction with previous years.
You won’t win prizes for guessing the most common injury in AFL, each team will have multiple soft tissue issues concurrently throughout the season, pre-season and post-season. AFL is a difficult sport to play and requires multiple levels of fitness, strength power and contact, making it very difficult to train for and increases the likelihood of injury.
Most injuries occur to the lower body, but shoulder injuries certainly aren’t rare, with dislocations being seen a few times a season and the ‘stinger’ or dead arm usually being experienced by a player at least once in their career.
Hamstring injuries are a large part of any AFL injury list, due to the factors above they need to be strong and durable, as well as produce power from a multitude of different positions. A typical time frame for a grade 1 hamstring tear in the AFL is 3-4 weeks. However, evidence suggests that a recovery time frame should be closer to 6-8 weeks for full resolution. Perhaps therefore some players tear multiple hamstrings in a season? Check out this blog to find out more
Are caused due to similar factors that cause a hamstring injury, however incidents are becoming less frequent whereas hamstrings are if anything increasing. Calf injuries are potentially declining due to the sports science division having an impact on training strategies as well as rest and recovery. Games missed per team has decreased significantly since 2010
Calf strains can cause a player to miss anywhere from 2-6 weeks, depending on the severity and how many times the injury has happened.
We’ve broadened this topic because there are so many serious injuries that can happen to the knee in an AFL game. The dreaded ACL (anterior cruciate ligament) rupture is what most people fear, due to the shear recovery time and future implications it has. At a local level it has stopped many players from playing again, however at AFL level 10-15 months is the expected time to recover. In recent years this timeframe has reduced, due to the knowledge and skill in the recovery of knee injuries improving.
Other knee injuries include the other 3 main ligaments, medial and lateral ligament ruptures as well as the PCL. A player can miss anywhere from 3 weeks to 6 months based on the severity of the damage.
Meniscal injuries are another injury that has plagued AFL with the repetitive twisting and turning and contact being the perfect recipe for a meniscus. I should know, I’ve torn 3. Depending on the location of the tear a player might get away with missing 2-3 weeks in the AFL, however if surgery is required 6 weeks to 3 months is a more likely timeframe.
Incidents have risen to 2 more cases per year per club, this is unlikely to be more concussions happening, but more concussions being reported. Recent study and awareness have shone a light on the long-term effects on concussion and how important it is to allow yourself time to recover. A CONCUSSION IS A BRAIN INJURY and should not be taken lightly, click here to find out more.
Many clubs are opting for a minimum one-week rest for a concussion as symptoms can be delayed, however you should ideally wait at least 14 days before returning to play, making sure you are symptom free.
This is a blanket category due to not only muscle strains being common, but OP or osteitis pubis being a serious injury. OP is not overly common but can cause ongoing problems for over 12 months. Usually this will be treated conservatively at first with managed training load and rehabilitation, should this fail surgery is the next option. With recovery and return to sport training you can certainly miss an entire season.
Your typical adductor strain is like any other muscle tear, and you will miss approximately 4 weeks for a low-grade strain.