Football is one of Australia’s most-loved sports. Being such a high-contact sport, football brings with it many player injuries. Injuries commonly associated with football occur to the head and the upper and lower limbs, as well as over-use injuries.
Injuries common in rugby league and rugby union include those to the lower and upper limbs, as well as to the head and face. In junior competitions and social matches, there is a higher rate of injury to the head and face, including concussion.
In Aussie Rules, the majority of injuries occur to the lower limbs. Upper limb injuries are more common in junior competitions and social matches, as are head injuries.
Prevention is Better Than The Cure
All players are at risk of injury. There are some key factors that all players should take into consideration, no matter what level they are participating in or in what code.
An injury prevention strategy should start pre-season. Players should engage in pre-season training, including fitness training, as well as skills and technique training.
Players should warm up before the game. A warm-up routine should include stretching exercises to increase flexibility, and skills practice and slow jogging to increase the blood flow to the muscles to help prevent muscle soreness and damage.
It is important for footballers to be in the best physical condition they can be when they take to the battleground. They must therefore keep a balanced, nutritious diet, and be adequately hydrated before and during the match.
Protective clothing is important. Mouthguards should be worn at all times and replaced every two years or if damaged. Growing children need to have their mouthguards replaced more regularly. Body supports and protectors should be worn on body parts that have a history of injury. Players should also follow medical advice in regard to returning to play after an injury.
After a game, it is also important to cool down. Again, players should maintain a regular stretching program, and pay attention to the correct stretching techniques.
Injuries can also be prevented on the field if you know and follow the rules and keep up to date with any rule changes.