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Priorities for Investment in Injury Prevention in Community Australian Football

Finch, Caroline F. PhD*; Gabbe, Belinda PhD; White, Peta PhD*; Lloyd, David PhD; Twomey, Dara PhD§; Donaldson, Alex PhD*; Elliott, Bruce PhD; Cook, Jill PhD

Clinical Journal of Sport Medicine: November 2013 - Volume 23 - Issue 6 - p 430–438
doi: 10.1097/JSM.0b013e31829aa3e8
General Review
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Objective: High-quality sport-specific information about the nature, type, cause, and frequency of injuries is needed to set injury prevention priorities. This article describes the type, nature, and mechanism of injuries in community Australian Football (community AF) players, as collected through field-based monitoring of injury in teams of players.

Data Sources: Compilation of published prospectively collected injury data from 3 studies in junior community AF (1202 injuries in 1950+ players) and 3 studies in adult community AF (1765 injuries in 2265 players). This was supplemented with previously unpublished data from the most recent adult community AF injury cohort study conducted in 2007 to 2008. Injuries were ranked according to most common body regions, nature of injury, and mechanism.

Main Results: In all players, lower limb injuries were the most frequent injury in community AF and were generally muscle strains, joint sprains, and superficial injuries. These injuries most commonly resulted from incidental contact with other players, or from “overexertion.” Upper limb injuries were less common but included fractures, strains, and sprains that were generally caused by incidental contact between players and the result of players falling to the ground.

Conclusions: Lower limb injuries are common in community AF and could have an adverse impact on sustained participation in the game. Based on what is known about their mechanisms, it is likely that a high proportion of lower limb injuries could be prevented and they should therefore be a priority for injury prevention in community AF.

*Centre for Healthy and Safe Sport, University of Ballarat, Ballarat, Victoria, Australia;

Department of Epidemiology and Preventive Medicine, Monash University, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia;

Centre for Musculoskeletal Research, Griffith Health Institute, Griffith University, Gold Coast, Queensland, Australia;

§School of Health Sciences, University of Ballarat, Victoria, Australia;

School of Sport Science, Exercise and Health, University of Western Australia, Western Australia, Australia; and

Department of Physiotherapy, School of Primary Health Care, Faculty of Medicine, Nursing and Health Sciences, Monash University, Victoria, Australia.

Corresponding Author: Caroline F. Finch, PhD, Centre for Healthy and Safe Sport, University of Ballarat, Ballarat, Victoria 3353, Australia (c.finch@ballarat.edu.au).

The new data collection for the Preventing Australian Football Injuries through eXercise (PAFIX) study was funded by an NHMRC Project Grant (ID 400937). Compilation of the existing literature was funded by an NHMRC Partnership Project Grant (ID 565907), which included additional support (both cash and in-kind) from the following project partner agencies: the Australian Football League; Victorian Health Promotion Foundation; New South Wales Sporting Injuries Committee; JLT Sport, a division of Jardine Lloyd Thompson Australia Pty Ltd; Department of Planning and Community Development—Sport and Recreation Victoria Division; and Sports Medicine Australia—National and Victorian Branches. Also supported by a National Health and Medical Research Council Principal Research Fellowship (ID 565900 to C.F.F.) and NHMRC Career Development Fellowship (ID 1048731 to B.G.).

The authors report no conflicts of interest.

Received June 04, 2012

Accepted March 31, 2013

Copyright © 2013 Wolters Kluwer Health, Inc. All rights reserved.