AFL Injuries

Article by Jess Clarey

AFL Injuries

afl injury list

Australian Rules Football (AFL) is known for its high level of physical body contact. These high impact collisions can occur from any direction. Players typically wear no protective padding of any kind except for a mouth guard. As such, impact injury rates tend to be high.

Soft tissue injuries are the most frequent, including injuries to the hamstring, quadriceps and calf muscles.

Full contact play with the potential to be tackled or bumped from any angle means that the risk of a knee being twisted or caught on a dangerous angle is high. Injuries to the knee, ankle and shoulder joints are common.

Hamstring strain is the most common AFL player injury.

Knee reconstructions (especially from ACL injury) are among the season or career threatening injuries. The rate of ACL injury in 2013 was again far higher in pre-season and early rounds, compared to the winter months, while northern AFL teams tend to have slightly higher rates of ACL injury than southern AFL teams.

Osteitis pubis is a common overuse injury that causes groin pain and particularly affects Australian rules footballers.

AFL Injury Statistics

The following injury statistics have been drawn from the AFL 2013 season injury report.

The report authors stated that there were increases in overall injury incidence, prevalence and recurrence rates for the 2013 season, but no significant statistical change in the three year-period 2011-2013, compared to the previous three-year period covering 2008-10.

There was a statistically-significant increase in both injury incidence and prevalence over the years 2008-2013 (“High interchange era”) compared to the years 2002-2007 (“Low interchange era”).

Hamstring strain is still the number one injury in the game in terms of both incidence and prevalence (missed games).

It was found that hamstring and groin injury incidence and prevalence in the three-year period 2011-2013 (since the introduction of the substitute rule) were both significantly lower than the previous three-year period 2008-2010 but, in contrast, calf, knee tendon and other leg/foot/ankle injury incidence and prevalence were significantly higher in the recent three-year period 2011-2013 compared to 2008-2010.

In 2013, an 'average club list' of 46 players would now expect to have 8.2 players missing due to injury in any given week, compared to recent year totals of 7.8 players in 2012 and 8.4 players for the 2011 year.

The years 2011-13 had an increase in incidence of concussion compared to the nine previous years of the injury survey, even though the incidence was still low ... on average 1 player per club missing games each year due to concussion

Concussion has been a major injury concern for all sports in recent years.  Further concerns will be raised with the possible link between concussions suffered in sport and neurodegenerative conditions in later life. Reflecting these concerns, the AFL and AFLDA introduced revised Concussion Management Guidelines at the beginning of the 2011 and 2013 seasons that reinforced a more conservative approach to concussion management.

It is also worth noting that the recurrence rate for hamstring injuries in 2013 was, at 24%, higher than recent years, but still well below the recurrence rates seen in the 1990s.

Every year the AFL monitors injury rates and attempts to modify the rules in the best interest of player welfare.

Link to full report - AFL Injury Report - 2013 Season

Common AFL Injuries in Detail

Knee Pain

Adolescent Knee:

Ankle Injuries

Foot Pain

Groin Pain

Hip Pain

Back Pain

Shoulder Pain

Muscle Pain

Neck Pain

Wrist / Hand Injuries

Common Adolescent Football Injuries

Knee Pain

Heel Pain

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  • AC Joint Injury
  • Achilles Tendon Rupture
  • Achilles Tendonitis / Tendinitis
  • ACL Injury
  • Adductor Tendinopathy
  • Anterior Ankle Impingement
  • Avascular Necrosis of the Femoral Head
  • Back Muscle Pain
  • Bicep Tendonitis
  • Bulging Disc
  • Bursitis Knee
  • Bursitis Shoulder
  • Calf Muscle Tear
  • Chondromalacia Patella
  • Compartment Syndrome
  • Corked Thigh
  • Cramps
  • Degenerative Disc Disease
  • Dislocated Shoulder
  • DOMS - Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness
  • Facet Joint Pain
  • Femoroacetabular Impingement (FAI)
  • Gluteal Tendinopathy
  • Greater Trochanteric Pain Syndrome
  • Groin Strain
  • Hamstring Strain
  • Heel Spur
  • High Ankle Sprain
  • Hip Arthritis (Osteoarthritis)
  • Hip Labral Tear
  • Hip Pointer
  • ITB Syndrome
  • Knee Arthritis
  • Knee Ligament Injuries
  • Meniscus Tear
  • Metatarsalgia
  • Morton's Neuroma
  • Muscle Strain (Muscle Pain)
  • Neck Arm Pain
  • Neck Headache
  • Osgood Schlatter's
  • Osteitis Pubis
  • Overuse Injuries
  • Patella Tendonitis (Tendinopathy)
  • Patellofemoral Pain Syndrome
  • Peroneal Tendonitis
  • Pes Planus - Flat Feet
  • Pinched Nerve
  • Piriformis Syndrome
  • Plantar Fasciitis
  • Plica Syndrome
  • Poor Hip Core
  • Posterior Ankle Impingement
  • Retrocalcaneal Bursitis
  • Rotator Cuff Calcific Tendinitis
  • Rotator Cuff Syndrome
  • Rotator Cuff Tear
  • Sacroiliac Joint Pain
  • Sciatica
  • Severs Disease
  • Shin Splints
  • Shoulder Impingement
  • Shoulder Tendonitis
  • Sinding Larsen Johansson Syndrome
  • Spondylolisthesis
  • Spondylolysis (Back Stress Fracture)
  • Sprained Ankle
  • Stress Fracture
  • Stress Fracture Feet
  • Tarsal Tunnel Syndrome
  • Thigh Strain
  • Thumb Sprain
  • TMJ Dysfunction
  • Trochanteric Bursitis
  • Wry Neck
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    AFL injuries

    Common Treatments for AFL Injuries

  • Early Injury Treatment
  • Avoid the HARM Factors
  • Soft Tissue Injury? What are the Healing Phases?
  • What to do after a Muscle Strain or Ligament Sprain?
  • Acupuncture and Dry Needling
  • Sub-Acute Soft Tissue Injury Treatment
  • Core Exercises
  • Scapular Stabilisation Exercises
  • Rotator Cuff Exercises
  • Closed Kinetic Chain Exercises
  • Active Foot Posture Correction Exercises
  • Gait Analysis
  • Biomechanical Analysis
  • Balance Enhancement Exercises
  • Proprioception & Balance Exercises
  • Agility & Sport-Specific Exercises
  • Medications?
  • Orthotics
  • Real Time Ultrasound Physiotherapy
  • Soft Tissue Massage
  • Walking Boot
  • ACL Injury Prevention
  • Ankle Strapping
  • Brace or Support
  • Electrotherapy & Local Modalities
  • Heat Packs
  • Joint Mobilisation Techniques
  • Kinesiology Tape
  • Knee Arthroscopy
  • Neurodynamics
  • Prehabilitation
  • Running Analysis
  • Strength Exercises
  • Stretching Exercises
  • Supportive Taping & Strapping
  • TENS Machine
  • Video Analysis
  • Yoga
  • FAQs about AFL Injuries

  • Common Physiotherapy Treatment Techniques
  • What is Pain?
  • Physiotherapy & Exercise
  • How Does Kinesiology Tape Reduce Swelling?
  • What Causes Post-Exercise Muscular Pain?
  • The Best Core Exercises
  • Heat Packs. Why does heat feel so good?
  • How Does an Exercise Ball Help Back Pain?
  • How to Strap an Ankle
  • Post-Run Soreness: Should You Be Concerned?
  • Rotator Cuff: What is it?
  • Sports Injury? What to do? When?
  • What are Common Adolescent / Children Leg Injuries?
  • What are Growing Pains?
  • What are the Early Warning Signs of an Injury?
  • What is a TENS Machine?
  • What is Chronic Pain?
  • What is Nerve Pain?
  • What is Sports Physiotherapy?
  • What's the Benefit of Stretching Exercises?
  • What's Your Core Stability Score?
  • When is the Best Time for a Pre-Event Massage?
  • Helpful Products for AFL Players

    AFL Injuries

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    Last updated 05-May-2016 07:06 PM

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