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Study launched to investigate ACL injuries in women's football

Vivianne Miedema of Arsenal with a serious ACL injury requiring her to be stretchered off in 2022
Vivianne Miedema of Arsenal with a serious ACL injury requiring her to be stretchered off in 2022Profimedia
A groundbreaking project was launched on Tuesday in the English Women's Super League to study anterior cruciate ligament injury prevention.

Players unions the Professional Footballers' Association (PFA) and FIFPRO have joined forces with Nike and Leeds Beckett University to provide funding.

Research suggests such injuries are two to six times more likely to occur in women than men but there is little understanding about how to reduce their frequency in professional women footballers.

The WSL clubs participating in the three-year study will be assessed on a number of factors including their facilities, number of staff compared to squad size, travel and playing schedules.

"The players have rightly called for more research into ACL injury," said FIFPRO's head of strategy and research for women's football Alex Culvin.

"Project ACL is a response to both their needs and those of the industry more broadly. What makes this project stand out is it focuses on players in professional women's football, and benefits from the collaboration of a wide range of stakeholders."

A number of the biggest stars in the women's game have been sidelined by ACL injuries in recent years.

England captain Leah Williamson and Euro 2022 Golden Boot winner Beth Mead both missed the 2023 Women's World Cup.

Former Ballon d'Or winner Alexia Putellas played only a minor role in Spain's victory at the World Cup after a year out due to an ACL tear, while Chelsea's Sam Kerr and Arsenal striker Vivianne Miedema have also suffered similar injuries.

England and Barcelona defender Lucy Bronze welcomed the announcement of "Project ACL".

"It's really important. We need to start fine-tuning the information that we're putting out. There's just so much talk and lot of wrong information that gets put out," said Bronze.

"There isn't a quick fix to eradicating ACL injuries in women's football. We need to do this finely tuned research so that we can (pinpoint) the key factors and focus points.

"The players need to be more clear on the process of why it happens, what you can do to reduce the risk and not just changing your football boots or what socks you wear."

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