Earlier start to AFLW prompts injury worries

A pre-game warm up for the AFLW’s Adelaide Crows. Photo: Creative Commons.

The AFLW may have two premiers crowned for 2022, with the season looking to start in August.  

Pushing the season forward means that the part-time athletes would only receive a break of four months.

The first six seasons of the sport were played in the early months of the year, meaning the traditionally winter sport was played in summer.

Newly retired West Coast Eagles player Courtney Guard says the heat affected the way the teams played and the cooler weather would be positive for their performance.

“It’s important that we aren’t playing when it’s scorching hot. I think that will allow the girls to play at their best.”

With the recent unpredictability caused by COVID-19, many fixtures were forced to be changed which resulted in some athletes having to play multiple games within a week.

Some players believe the change of fixtures put their bodies under additional strain and resulted in many injuries. 

Guard says the season getting brought forward could mean an entire season on the bench for currently injured players.

“It does play on girls’ minds, that if they have sustained a large injury and they were thinking they have recovery time in the off season, that might be a very different case.”

Previous research shows that women playing football have a higher risk of ACL injuries.

Essendon Bombers physiotherapist Ebru Efe says the injuries could be a result of genetics or a lack of preparation time.  

“The girls are only contracted for a certain amount of the year and if everything is bunched up, they don’t get as much background to develop their movement patterns and their jumping and landing, it’s a combination [of that and] of the season being really short.”

Injuries such as a torn ACL can take up to 12 months to repair, meaning the majority of the players in recovery will have another season on the sidelines.

Players with minor injuries would also potentially miss out on valuable rehab time.

“Anyone that’s even had a small injury that they might want to get addressed after the season, they don’t really get an opportunity to do that,” Efe says.

“They don’t have the time in the middle of the year to do the rehabilitation on a knee or an ankle or any other injury,” she says.

AFL chief executive Gillon McLachlan has forecast a full round of AFLW fixtures in Melbourne on the Friday public holiday before the men’s grand final in September if the women’s season is brought forward.

Categories: General

Tagged as: , , ,