On the 3rd of December RHP physiotherapists supported by physio students embarked on the task of screening 50+ female football (a.k.a. soccer) players from The Gap Football Club.
The women’s arm of The Gap Football Club is perhaps the premier women’s club in Qld, and has a terrific culture of player development and support that contributes to its success. This has been under the stewardship of head coach Rob Askew and club captain Bec Price for a number of successful seasons.
Screening is a process of individual player assessment with the goal of discovering any deficiencies in strength, co-ordination, flexibility, or dynamic movement skill that might be contributing to increased injury risk. The players that took part were from the U13, U15, U20 and Open age groups.
A large body of research has occurred in the last 5 + years investigating lower limb injuries in football players, and also strategies to minimise their occurrence. Most of this research has focussed on anterior cruciate ligament injuries in the knee. It shows that women are approximately 4 times more likely to sustain this injury than men, and occurrence in teenagers is becoming more common. This is mostly due to weakness in gluteals, hamstrings and trunk muscles, and dynamic movement skill deficits that present in the post-pubescent female player.
Thus one of the primary goals of our pre-season injury screening is to identify the players who are performing least well on our tests, and intervene early with specific strengthening, education, and skill development strategies. All players will receive a report, and advice on any areas that they need to improve. Appropriate exercises and drills specific to their needs will be provided, with reviews planned during the coming season to monitor progress.
RHP Physiotherapy is a proud sponsor of The Gap Football Club, and pleased to instigate these injury prevention strategies based on the most recent research.
Good luck for the 2016 season Rob and Bec, and we hope your players stay on the pitch.