Australian Rules Football Injury
The future of Australian Rules Football is dependent on continued participation by junior players as they get older. Thus it is important to ensure at least maintenance if not an increase in the number of young people playing the game. Sale (1991) reported that young people drop out of regular physical recreational activity from poor childhood experiences and/ or injury.
It is therefore important to clarify the nature and prevalence of injury sustained by junior players of AustralianRules Football in order to ensure that opportunities for injury are minimised. Parents have a great influence on their children’s sports participation, often based on their own experiences and perceptions of injury. Elite level sports administration organisations such as the Australian Football League play a major role in supporting young people’s participation in the sport. The League can do this by recognising and addressing factors that lead to injury, and thus promoting the sport as enjoyable, safe and good for physical and mental development of young people.
Study of injuries In australian football
‘primary prevention of sports injuries include adequate adult supervision of sport, better training of coaches, enforcement and/ or modification of ground rules and improving ground and playing conditions’. In Australian Rules Football, variations in rules, ground and football sizes are experienced by players of different ages, in an attempt to reflect their changing body size and skill maturation. Full adult rules apply when young players commence high school, at approximately age 13 years (SANFL Junior Policy Information Booklet 1996). The rule modifications largely address the extent and nature of body contact, and playing area.
Frequency of injury affecting football
Study found a high frequency of injuries (58%) in both age groups playing Australian Rules Football. Compared with playing any other sport/ recreational activity, boys in both age groups were significantly more likely to sustain an injury playing Australian Rules Football, with the older boys having a slightly greater risk of injury than younger boys. Encouragingly, and balancing concerns regarding the high frequency of injuries, was the fact that the majority of football injuries were minor. The most common injury sites were to the knee and ankle (Grimmer et al 2000, Jones et al 2000). Common injury types were bruising, aches and pains and muscle strains. Overall, the most common mechanisms of injury were, bumping into someone, and landing badly. These findings were hardly surprising in a running, turning and jumping game where increasing degrees of body contact are permitted as players become older. Despite this, it seems important in light of the injury potential of growing bodies, that the effects of rule modification on injury be assessed in the younger age groups, as a way of minimising injury opportunity (Finch 1996).