The Players’ Association has reviewed the Injury Report and GPS Report which were released by the AFL today.
The Injury Report found increases in injury incidence, prevalence and recurrence rates in the 2013 season, with these figures at an all-time high.
That injuries have continued to rise, despite increased spending on club medical and conditioning teams, highlights how physically demanding our game is.
The incidence of calf injuries, a type of injury generally caused by fatigue, has increased significantly over the last three years. The Report suggests that the substitute rule, designed to increase player fatigue (to reduce congestion), may be a contributing factor in the increased incidence of these injuries. This is something we will monitor closely this year, particularly given the introduction of the interchange cap. Similarly, the increased number of recurring ACL injuries – a tragic part of our sport – is something which we will also monitor closely.
The Injury Report also highlights the need for increased research and data on the incidence of concussion, a matter taken extremely seriously by the Players’ Association. The increase may relate to the increased awareness about concussion, which pleasingly means more players are being referred through to treatment regimes. However, while there has been a strong emphasis on this issue in recent years, and the AFL has taken a number of positive steps to reduce the risk of head and neck injuries (and to treat those injuries more seriously), it is important that we stay vigilant with respect to the reporting of these incidents, and the measures in place to mitigate the impact of this injury. We will continue to work with the AFL and the Concussion Working Group on this issue.