By: 8 June 2023
New UEFA Women’s Elite Club Injury Study identifies club environment as crucial factor in injury incidence

Isokinetic, London’s clinic for injury prevention, treatment and rehabilitation is to expand its dedicated programme specialising in the prevention and treatment of ACL and other injuries in women footballers.

The move comes amid release of a new peer-reviewed study in the journal of Knee Surgery, Sports Traumatology and Arthroscopy (May 2023) co-authored by Jan Ekstrand, Linkoping University, Sweden, the Football Research Group, Sweden, and Isokinetic Medical Group, London. The research looked specifically at hamstring injuries in professional female footballers across Europe.  It measured twenty-one different risk factors over the 2020/2021 season. It concludes that “most risk factors for hamstring injuries are extrinsic in nature and associated with the club, the team, and the coaching staff, and not the players themselves.”

The report cites; lack of regular exposure to high-speed football actions during training; playing matches 2 to 3 times per week; load on players; and lack of communication between medical staff and coaching staff.

Dr Jesus Olmo, Isokinetic Sports Doctor and Former Real Madrid CF Medical Director, said; “It is essential that as women compete in football in highly competitive and elite levels that we provide an infrastructure that is going to support them. We believe that prevention is key and it is crucial to assess players before they experience injury to better understand their unique movement patterns and strategize optimised ways of movement that will keep the individual healthy for longer. We are excited to bring globally recognised and technology advanced medical pathways to women athletes in the UK and Europe.”

Dr Matthew Stride, Isokinetic Sports Doctor and former Club Doctor, Brentford FC, said; “We need to protect our players! There are significant cultural, developmental and biomechanical differences in women’s football, however this research is showing that the main contributing factor in women’s injury in elite sport is dependent on club and coaching staff and not on any factors around the player themselves. We’ve got a big job to do in raising the expectations of conditioning and protection of women players. They deserve better and we hope that this new dedicated programme can provide the support, foresight and protection that they need.”

The women’s injury programme is based in a technologically advanced, doctor-led environment. Each patient journey starts with a doctor-led pathway beginning with a consultation with an expert sport science doctor who oversees ongoing treatment. The programme includes:

  • Analysis with a doctor in the clinic’s biomechanical lab (Green Room) measures of neuromuscular control by understanding each player’s movement patterns with the Movement Analysis Test (MAT test)
  • Targeted Neuromotor training in the Green Room with augmented and real-time feedback on video-walls to optimize movements and neuromuscular control. Everything before challenging the players in further testing to monitor the improvement.
  • Additional tests include Threshold test and the Isokinetic test, to check the resistance to fatigue and the muscle strength
  • GPS tracking technology as a preventive measure to constantly track workloads throughout the entire competitive season and to have real data available, processed by a single device. This allows doctors to understand the work done by each athlete day after day, to better prepare a personalized program based on her requirements. This technology can positively influence the prevention of injuries associated with overtraining because it provides more training data in a scientific way
  • Treatment and technology are housed in an extensively equipped five-storey Harley Street facility with hydrotherapy pool, treatment rooms and gym
  • The team rehabilitation mirrors a club environment providing a powerful mindset and mental health benefits to people with injury where patients will exercise with other professional athletes, ballerinas, rugby players and runners in a high-energy positive environment.

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