Understanding Injuries in Women’s Football: What You Should Know
Women’s football has become increasingly popular and is now a prominent sport for women and girls in the UK.
This is after the Football Association banned women from playing the sport for 50 years claiming it was “the game of football is quite unsuitable for females and ought not to be encouraged.” Women’s football in the UK has recovered over the last 50 years since the ban was lifted and now women play football at various levels, including elite and professional. The success of the Lionesses as European Champions and World Cup winners has boosted participation in the game. Football requires a combination of activities such as running, dribbling, and passing, as well as occasional high-impact actions like tackling and jumping. Players require high levels of cardio-vascular fitness as well as movement and technical skills to be impactful on the pitch.
Injury Incidence: Despite its growing popularity, there is limited research on the biomechanical aspects related to critical technical skills in women’s football, such as tackling, shooting, and heading. Injury rates in women’s football can vary, and reported figures are influenced by factors such as the player population, timeframes, and methods of injury monitoring. Nevertheless, the lower extremities, especially the ankle and knee, are the most frequently affected body parts, with ligament injuries being common. Concussion is also common and can affect female players differently. The reasons for this are not fully understood. All players who have or are suspect to have concussion should be removed from play. See the link below for further information
Factors Contributing to Injury Risk: Several factors contribute to injury risks in women’s football. These include age, sex (with females being more susceptible to certain injuries), body composition, prior injuries, physical fitness, anatomical characteristics, skill proficiency, and psychological factors. Additionally, injury risks can be influenced by factors like game rules, coaching techniques, protective equipment, footwear, and the playing environment.
Types of Injuries: Among the most prevalent injuries are ligament injuries, particularly to the ankle and anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) in the knee. These injuries can result in prolonged absences from the game and may require surgical intervention.
Screening and Prevention: To reduce the risk of injuries, functional performance tests (FPTs) are employed to identify athletes at a higher risk. These assessments evaluate an athlete’s ability to control their movements during specific exercises. Examples of such tests include single-leg squats, hop tests, tuck jump assessments, and video drop jump screening tests.
Injury Prevention Programs: There are dedicated injury prevention programs designed for women’s football players. These programs work on optimising biomechanics and preparing players to play. You should complete them before starting training. You need to complete the program regularly for it to be effective. Not only will it reduce your injury risk but it will make you a better player too.
Power Up to Play – injury prevention program,