AFL must curb injury numbers
The AFL should release the injury statistics for the midway point of this year’s season and compare it to that of past seasons.
I get a sense that the 18-team, 24-game competition and the rules of the game are potentially at odds with one another.
The AFL Players Association should take the time to delve into the injury issues before someone is incapacitated for life, or worse.
If that sounds dramatic, then a death in the AFL – while sometimes not preventable – might become the games’ worst nightmare.
Reports filter back every week that the football managements at clubs spends their entire weeks looking after players in rehab and resting them before the next game.
The reports indicate that body contact drills and hard contests are almost non-existent at mid-week practice sessions by AFL clubs.
This points to the fact that the 23-24-25 players engaged each week are either injured badly; injured moderately; carrying strains, bumps and bruises into the following games; or relatively injury free but fatigued from constant battering over a 15-week period.
I do not think this is a healthy picture.
This is not netball. Nor is it soccer. The grounds are hard and the landings harder.
The head and body clashes have been frightening. Head protection is non-existent.
Shoulder protection is not-existent. Joint injuries in the leg are almost at breakout levels.
Rugby league players mostly face their direct opponents. Not to say they offer players freedom from severe injury, they do not. But injuries of the type that the young Carlton forward suffered last weekend bring the nightmare scenario into keen focus.
The AFL has been otherwise fantastic in protecting the image of the game and bringing the notion of responsibility/correct mental health into the lives of its players.
Now it’s time for the AFL to take some responsibility for the physical wellbeing of its players. The league should initiate an inquiry into the injury factor in AFL football today.