From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Australian rules football is
a sport known for its high level
of physical body contact compared to other sports such as soccer and basketball. High impact
collisions can occur from any direction, although deliberate
collisions from front-on (known specifically as a
shirtfront when the contact is body-on-body). In addition,
players typically wear no protective padding of any kind except for
a mouthguard (unlike the full-body gear in gridiron
football codes or the shinguards in soccer). As such, injury rates tend
to be high.
Soft tissue injuries are the most frequent, including injuries
to the thighs and calf
muscles. Osteitis pubis is a condition which
particularly effects Australian rules footballers.
Injuries to the knee, ankle and shoulders are also common. Hospital
treated injuries account for 40 percent of all injuries.
Knee reconstructions are among the career
threatening injuries for professional and amateur players. Full
contact play with the potential to be tackled or bumped from any
angle means that the risk of a knee being twisted or caught on a
dangerous angle is high.
While many players choose not to wear protective padding,
players do occasionally suffer head injury resulting in loss of
spinal injury is extremely uncommon and
comparatively much lower than rugby football.
In recent years the AFL has commissioned official studies as
well as introduced new rules and precautions aimed at reducing the
number and severity of injuries in the sport.
The high levels of injuries that take place during games of
football are so much that not only during a players' career are
they susceptible to injuries, but the effects afterwards are
detrimental to their health. One example of a current player (as of
2005) that has suffered a large share of injuries is Essendon
champion James Hird,
who has suffered virtually every injury imaginable.
In a study conducted recently of 413 retired VFL/AFL footballers, common
problems amongst the group in old age included arthritis, hip replacements (including Kevin Sheedy, who
has had two operations on his hip within a short space of time),
and low ability to perform sport-based activities.
recently spoke out in Good Weekend (the
magazine of the Fairfax
newspaper network) detailing that his emphasis on fitness during
his career had been cancelled out after his retirement, when the
onset of injuries during his football career began to take their
The AFL Players'
Association is working on initiatives to set up a player
welfare fund for after footballers' retirements.
or career threatening injury cases in the AFL
The following is a list of incidents in professional Australian
Rules which required immediate hospitalisation or threatened the
career or a player.
Abraham tore his ACL in his left knee after falling hard in a
kneeling position during a collision with James Hird. The knee was badly twisted. He
was on the ground for less than 1 minute. The injury ended his
- Jason Snell of Geelong suffered a broken ankle from which he
was never able to play (or even run) again.
- James Hird
(Essendon) suffered horrific facial injuries at Subiaco in a clash
against Fremantle when teammate Mark McVeigh landed unsuccessfully from a
marking contest onto his face.
- Collingwood star utility Tarkyn Lockyer was injured in the air
during a tackle of a Cats player early in the Round 3 clash against
Geelong. His left leg was tackled alone. As his knee extended he
suffered a tear in his anterior cruciate ligament, sidelining him
for 12 months and starting a wretched luck with injuries for a
further two years.
- In a match between Adelaide and Essendon at AAMi Stadium, James Hird suffered an
eye injury when a Crow defender attempted to spoil the ball and hit
him in the side of the face. It was another in the long list of
Hird injuries. Hird was taken to hospital but Essendon still
managed to win easily.
Fletcher lost most of his teeth requiring re-implantation
despite wearing a mouthguard.
- In a match between Richmond and Melbourne, Matthew Whelan of
Melbourne lunged to smother a kick from Nathan G. Brown of Richmond. The foot
became stuck in the turf, and Whelan's torso landed directly on
Brown's shin, snapping both bones in the leg, in an incident whose
replay has made fans shudder since. Brown calmly sat on the ground
and raised his hand for a stretcher with his lower leg badly bent
outwards on a 30 degree angle. Brown had several complications and
relapses from the condition in the following seasons.
- During an elimination final between Melbourne and Geelong, a
stray boot in a ruck contest from Geelong's Steven King connected with
White's face. The injuries were described as "similar to those
of a car accident victim," requiring the insertion of several
- In a match between Richmond and Collingwood, Chris Newman
received a similar injury to his team mate Nathan G. Brown
- In a match between the Western Bulldogs and St Kilda, a hip-and-shoulder from the Bulldogs' Daniel
Giansiracusa left St Kilda's notoriously unfortunate Justin
Koschitzke with a fractured skull, sparking much of the debate
about the safety of bumps in the game. Koschitzke has since
returned to the side.
- In a game between Brisbane and the Western Bulldogs. Mitch Hahn
of the Bulldogs badly hyperextended his left knee forwards after
landing awkwardly and grimaced on the ground with his hands around
his knee. The horrific injury put him 10 months on the
- In a match between Collingwood and Brisbane, Blake Caracella
tried to dive on a loose ball at the same time as a Lions player,
though Caracella was diving and the opponent slid in on his side.
Caracella's head was pushed back by his opponent, play went on and
Caracella was unable to move any lower than his neck. In the next
few days, doctors said that he was lucky not to be a paraplegic
after the incident. Caracella sadly retired later that year, citing
medical reasons for his decision.
- In a match between St. Kilda and West Coast, Saints backman Matt Maguire had his
left leg broken as a result of Tyson Stenglein sliding into his
- In a match between Port Adelaide and Adelaide, Crows forward Trent Hentschel
badly dislocated his right knee when a player dived on his right
leg requiring a full knee reconstruction. He suffered a torn ACL
and spent over a month in hospital.
- In a match between Adelaide and West Coast, Crows ruckman Rhett Biglands
badly bent his left knee when Nathan Van Berlo dived into his leg
in a desperate scramble for the ball. The collision forced
Bigland's lower leg to bend outwards requiring a full knee
reconstruction. Despite been able to walk off the ground, it was
confirmed a complete tear to the ACL in the knee.
Koschitzke was again in the thick of it, fainting on live television, and smashing
his head on the counter. He later collided with an umpire in a VFL match.
Camporeale suffered a career ending knee injury in Round 21
2007 when his right knee bent and twisted in the wrong direction
during a sudden change in direction. ACL gone. He was delisted by
Essendon after the season and will be an assistant coach for the
- In the NAB Cup preseason, Nick Malceski suffered a
serious injury to his right knee and after the knee reconstruction
he returned to play for Sydney in Round 8. Malceski created news
headlines when he elected for a risky surgery technique to save his
Research finds cause of
Australian rules football -
Retrospective study of
concussive convulsions in elite Australian rules and rugby league
footballers: phenomenology, aetiology, and outcome
Spinal cord injuries in Australian footballers 1997–2002 ]
A neck breaking game
Fletcher loses teeth as
Bombers slump again - ABC News (Australian Broadcasting