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A new dawn for girls to shine big

Women’s Sport in the last year has grown to new, unforeseen heights. Girls, who could have only dreamed of playing on the biggest arenas in the world, now have the opportunity to do so. This new dynamic in sport has also brought about injury and workload concerns.

In 2013 the AFL announced an exhibition match to be played between women’s teams representing Melbourne and Western Bulldogs – Following the announcement a draft took place, establishing the playing lists for the two clubs.

Fast forward 4 years and the success of the AFLW competition has impelled every sporting code and sporting fan to reevaluate the importance of women’s sport. The AFLW now has ten teams’ scattered nationally and major sponsorship and media deals.

Above all else people of all ages love seeing what girls can do for the game of Australian Rules football. The raw nature in which the girls approach the game appeals to a lot of life long fans, the attack on the ball, lack of zoning, defensive structures and over coaching provide a glimpse into a bygone era of simplified football.

It seems a great sense of curiosity and excitement to see something innovative and distinctive is the real driving force.

The new competition has shun a light on talented and athletically gifted women – Players like Erin Phillips (AFLW 2017 MVP) have paved the way for ‘code hoppers’ or jumping from one sport to the other.  Erin Phillips, before rising to stardom in the AFLW competition was a world champion, Olympian and WNBA basketballer.

AFLW 2017 Injury statistics

Studies have shown that women are structurally predisposed to suffering an ACL injury, with some research suggesting females are between two and eight times more likely than male equivalents to tear the anterior cruciate ligament.

At the end of the AFLW season, the number of ACL injuries totaled 4

Kate Sheehan had dreamt of one day playing AFL and at age 35, she was able to realise that dream, however during the game she tragically suffered an ACL tear.

“This surge of pain ran through my body and I went down like I had been shot, but to be honest that’s how it felt. I remember screaming: My knee, my knee.”

Also of significance was the total number of concussion and heavy collision injuries. Expert opinion suggests this may be a result of eagerness and passion to gain possession of the football, but more importantly a lack of education on how best to use your body and protect yourself while playing –  At the local level, discussing and practicing correct techniques in order to prevent heavy collision injuries is very important.

What we can do for you

At Point Cook Physical we can prevent, treat and develop rehabilitation programs tailored to suit your specific needs.

Step 1:

  • Initial assessment
  • A questionnaire to better understand the underlying issue
  • Stretching and body movement tests to see what is and is not functioning correctly
  • Hands on manual therapy to articulate weak points or general imbalances

Step 2:

  • Depending on severity, the practitioner will likely develop a plan to prevent the injury worsening
  • Clinical Pilates, stretching exercises, body weight exercises and massage are common in treating and preventing injury

Step 3:

  • The injury may require follow up sessions and medical imaging test such as X-Ray’s or MRI’s to confirm the extent of the injury. For example a patient with a sore back may be at risk of developing stress fractures.

Our rehabilitation programs focus on strengthening exercises, proper technique and ensuring the area or muscle is stronger than when first seen to.

What you can do

Before jumping onto the footy field or sporting ground, be sure to visit your local GP and go in for a general check up to ensure there are no underlying injuries or conditions to be aware of.

Below are some tips and tricks if you are giving any sport a crack for the first time:

  • Be sure your equipment is suitable, safe and fits well
  • Understand and follow the rules of the sport
  • Discuss and learn from others – Often the best thing to ensure you are ready to play, is to sit down with a coach, peers or even umpires and ask questions
  • Develop a training routine
  • Focus on core strengthening exercises
  • Hydrate and eat well
  • Be inspired by people you look up to – Daisy Pearce in the AFLW is a great role model for people of all ages to follow
  • Be confident in your ability
  • Be competitive, but also see it as an opportunity to build relationships

If you or anyone you know has recently taken up playing girls sport, find out how our team can help you, or to book an appointment contact us on (03) 9369 9766

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