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FA to investigate ACL injuries in women

PUBLISHED: 12:00 23 April 2020

Arsenal's Danielle Carter leaves the pitch on a stretcher during the Emirates Cup match at the Emirates Stadium, London.

Arsenal's Danielle Carter leaves the pitch on a stretcher during the Emirates Cup match at the Emirates Stadium, London.

PA Wire/PA Images

The Football Association is conducting an investigation in a bid to halt the number of ACL injuries among female footballers.

Arsenal's Jordan Nobbs in action for England women against Brazil's Raquel at Meadow Lane (pic Mike Egerton/PA)Arsenal's Jordan Nobbs in action for England women against Brazil's Raquel at Meadow Lane (pic Mike Egerton/PA)

A total of 12 players in the top two tiers of English Women’s football have suffered anterior cruciaet ligament injuries this term, while research has suggested women are up to eight times more likely to suffer the injury than men.

Arsenal duo Jordan Nobbs and Danielle Carter have suffered with ACL injuries in their successful careers so far.

Nobbs told the BBC before the 2019 World Cup, which she missed as a result of her injury, that she believes there is a link between ACL injuries and menstrual cycles.

The FA says the results will be ‘carefully assessed over time’.

It says the audit, which is in its early stages, will be conducted by ‘a group of experts from institutions involved in producing research around female athletes and/or women’s football’.

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It added: “We will then be able to assess any trends with particular injuries, including ACL injuries. We can then analyse rates of injuries, comparing to previous audits in men’s and women’s football and other sports.”

Chelsea and Bristol City became the first clubs in the world to tailor their training programme around players’ menstrual cycles in an attempt to enhance performance and cut down on injuries.

The Robins had conducted more research into the menstrual cycle and why it is connected to ACL injuries, but that is currently on hold due to the coronavirus crisis.

Manchester City, who have defender Aoife Mannion sidelined after suffering a cruciate injury while playing against Atletico Madrid in the Champions League last October, are also believed to be engaged in studies surrounding ACL injuries.

The FA will also conduct research to understand the demands of the WSL and Women’s Championship and the physical characteristics that underpin them.

In addition to ACL-specific studies, The Telegraph also revealed the FA is widening its research to explore other key issues affecting female players in the game today.

Relative energy deficiency in sport, a syndrome found in sportswomen who have symptoms of disordered eating, absent periods and loss of bone density, will be among other topics examined.


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