A narrative review of the physical demands and injury incidence in American football: Application of current knowledge and practices in workload management
Adis International Ltd.
Place of Publication
Centre for Exercise and Sport Science Research
The sport of American football (AmF) exposes athletes to high-velocity movements and frequent collisions during competition and training, placing them at risk of contact and non-contact injury. Due to the combative nature of the game, the majority of injuries are caused by player contact; however, a significant number are also non-contact soft-tissue injuries. The literature suggests that this mechanism of injury can be prevented through workload monitoring and management. The recent introduction of microtechnology into AmF allows practitioners and coaches to quantify the external workload of training and competition to further understand the demands of the sport. Significant workload differences exist between positions during training and competition; coupling this with large differences in anthropometric and physical characteristics between and within positions suggests that the training response and physiological adaptations will be highly individual. Effective athlete monitoring and management allows practitioners and coaches to identify how athletes are coping with the prescribed training load and, subsequently, if they are prepared for competition. Several evidence-based principles exist that can be adapted and applied to AmF and could decrease the risk of injury and optimise athletic performance.