A spate of anterior cruciate ligament injuries has plagued the 2018 AFLW competition, with many players’ seasons ending early due to their knee injuries and subsequent reconstructions.
Melbourne Demons star, Brooke Patterson, doubles as a physiotherapist and is completing her PhD at La Trobe University. She’s researching athletes recovering from knee reconstructions and knows first-hand the road to recovery, after suffering her own ACL injury in 2010 while playing state league basketball.
Patterson says female athletes are two to three times more likely to injure knee ligaments than their male counterparts while playing sports involving running and jumping.
She feels injury prevention is key and female-specific programmes are needed for young players coming through.
She also indicated some who are injured never make it back to the level they were at pre-injury, due to restricted movement in their ligaments and knee – post-injury and surgery.
One such player struggling to get back to her best after knee reconstructive surgery is GWS Giants 2016 marquee recruit, Renee Forth. She’s struggled to find form after rupturing her anterior cruciate ligament playing for the Coastal Titans in the West Australian Women’s Football League in August 2016.
Forth and retired Australian cricket star, Alex Blackwell, who made it back to the top of international cricket, talked to Hatch about their ACL injuries.