Jess here, in my first blog post as a qualified physio! What a better thing to talk about then my second love (physio being my first love of course) of AFL.
Lower leg injuries (hamstring and groin strains, ankle sprains and calf strains) are the most frequently occurring injuries in AFL and can keep you off the field for weeks, reducing your game time, fitness and strength while awaiting recovery. The nature of AFL with the sprinting, leaping, weaving and tackling requires a great deal of power, agility and proprioception and as a footy player myself having experienced 2 quad strains in the past year I can personally vouch for the frustration of time off play.
But these injuries are mostly preventable, and lucky for us the world of research has put together a lower limb injury prevention program called Footy First to do the hard work for you. This program, endorsed by AFL medical, physio and sports science associations, has 5 levels of graded exercises over an 18-week period, targeted to challenge balance and control, plyometrics and strength of key muscles. It reduces acute knee injuries by 54%, lower limb injuries by 39% and ankle sprain injuries by 50% in not only AFL but other sports including soccer and basketball.
The program takes around 25mins and is designed to replace a regular warm up before a training session, and only needs some cones, footies and some enthusiasm to implement.
Bring it up with your coach or download a free copy and do it by yourself; reduce your time off the field so you can perform on the field and get the best out of your season!