Characteristics of anterior cruciate ligament injuries in Australian Football
Faculty of Computing, Health and Science
School of Exercise, Biomedical and Health Science
Anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) injuries are the most costly injuries in football at both professional and amateur levels (Orchard J, Seward H, McGivern J, Hood S. Intrinsic and extrinsic risk factors for anterior cruciate ligament injury in Australian footballers. Am J Sports Med 2001;29:196–200.). In this study video analysis of 34 ACL injuries in Australian football was performed to investigate the causes of these injuries. Factors that may have contributed to the cause of the injury were analysed, rated and reported. The factors analysed were: type of manoeuvre, direction the knee ‘gave way’, running speed, knee angle, cutting angle and if the player was accelerating or decelerating. The majority of the injuries analysed occurred in non-contact situations (56%). Of these 37% occurred during sidestepping manoeuvres, 32% in landing, 16% land and step, 10% stopping/slowing and 5% crossover cut manoeuvres. Ninety-two percent of the non-contact injuries occurred at extended knee angles of 30° or less, which is also commonly known to place stress on the ACL and reduce the protective role of hamstrings. Over half (54%) of non-contact injuries occurred whilst decelerating. It would be expected that greater speed and angle cut too would increase the frequency of ACL injury. The results could not confirm this with most injuries occurring at running speeds of slow jogging to running and equal number of injuries occurred at cutting to angles of the ranges 15–45° and 45–75°. These results give greater understanding into potential causes or contributors of ACL injury and information to assist in the development of knee injury prevention programs.