Women’s football (AFL) has become increasingly popular in the last 5 years with the rise of the AFLW which has brought many more women and girls of all ages to the sport. Whilst the increasingly high number of females participating in the sport is fantastic to see, recent research has discovered that females suffer a much higher rate of serious injuries (particularly knee and head injuries).
Latrobe University partnered with the AFL to develop and implement the ‘Prep to Play Injury Prevention Program’ which aims to reduce these injuries! Latrobe is currently running a large research study to determine whether implementing this program has been effective. During the week when I'm not at PhysioLife, I also work part-time at Latrobe Uni on this research study!
The Prep-To-Play program was developed by researchers and experts within women’s football and injury prevention. The program is designed to maximize football performance and reduce injuries. Research in the AFLW has shown that most ACL injuries occur during change of direction, deceleration and landing activities. Whereas, most head injuries occur during aerial contests, tackling or ground balls. The dynamic warm-up of Prep to Play includes 8 activities designed to replace typical static stretching and jogging which are often found in a warm-up. Each of the warm-up activities are designed around football skills with the aim of reducing injuries by improving the quality of movement during training.
The 8 activities are listed below:
- Jog and Mobility
- Change of Direction
- Jump and Land
- Jump and Land + Contact