A-League clubs that invest in managing player health and injury prevention will be rewarded through on-field success and a healthier financial bottom line.
These are the key findings of the annual Professional Footballers Australia (PFA) A-League Injury Report, which was released in Melbourne today by PFA Chief Executive Brendan Schwab.
Click here for the full report.

According to the report, the achievements of the fitness and medical personnel of Sydney FC, Melbourne Victory and Wellington Phoenix were all reflected on the field.  However, injury rates again rose in the 2009/2010 season, with the payroll cost to clubs of injuries being about $15 million over the A-League’s first 5 seasons.

In other key findings:
the total number of games missed through injury for all A-League clubs increased by 69% from 506 in 2008/2009 to 855 in 2009/2010.  When adjusted for the longer season and the expanded competition, the increase was just over 5%;
Wellington Phoenix – which achieved its best on-field result in finishing third – had the lowest average with only 1.3 players unavailable each week because of injury.  There were 3 rounds where Phoenix were free of injury;
North Queensland Fury had the highest average of 4.8 injured players per round, with 8 players being unavailable in one week (Round 26).  Gold Coast had the second highest average (4.1). In all, around 20% to 25% of a club’s roster were unavailable each week;
the highest averages of games missed by injury type were: knees (35%), hamstrings (13%), ankles (12%) and quadriceps (8%);
39% of injuries were “soft tissue” and theoretically preventable; and
only 64% of A-League players believe their club provides adequate medical facilities, personnel and treatment at training.
“The rate and nature of injury in the A-League warrants close examination, and the PFA will seek to benchmark our experience with other elite football leagues throughout the world as well as Australia’s other football codes,” Schwab said.

“The A-League makes particular demands of its players, especially in relation to relatively hard playing and training surfaces, restricted rosters, travel and a lengthening season.  The relationship between these factors and injury needs to be further researched.

“Lessons can be drawn from FFA’s experience in managing the arduous travel and playing schedules of Australia’s national teams, including the Socceroos.

“Of course, not all injuries are preventable.  Melbourne Victory – the league’s benchmark for the first four seasons – had a heavy injury toll last season, due mainly to some serious knee injuries.

“Central Coast Mariners and Sydney FC, however, suffered fewer injuries.”
The PFA is also concerned that some clubs have resisted calls to implement a full-time medical team within their club set up due to the cost involved.

“As the results of this survey show, the cost cutting mentality behind such resistance is counterproductive, with the payroll cost of injuries to A-League clubs being about $15,000,000 in 5 years, excluding the costs of medical treatment and replacement players. Further, the payroll cost of preventable injuries (again excluding medical costs and replacement players) could be as high as $6,000,000 for the same period.

“Obviously, if on-field performance and economic cost do not motivate the clubs to improve their medical practices, then a regulatory response is called for,” Schwab added.

A complete copy of the 2009/2010 PFA A-League Injury Report can be downloaded by Clicking Below..
Click here