Professional Footballers Australia (PFA) today released the 2011/12 PFA A-League Injury Report.

The 2011/12 season showed a significant fall in the number of injuries and the number of matches missed as a result of injury.

The fall in injuries followed the introduction of mandatory minimum medical standards which applied for the first time in the 2011/12 season. Mandatory medical standards were introduced following agreement between the PFA and Football Federation Australia.

PFA Chief Executive Brendan Schwab welcomed the reductions in injury rates which are demonstrated in the Injury Report.

“It is a really positive step for the A-League. The on-field quality drives TV audiences, and stadium attendances,” Schwab said.

“For the A-League to be a success it needs to have the best players on the park. Rising injury rates before the 2011/12 season were threatening to undermine the attractiveness of the of the on-field product.

“The introduction of minimum medical standards is a matter that the PFA was pushing for a number of seasons. We are pleased that FFA embraced this for the 2011/12 season and the results have been lower injury rates. It shows how an effective partnership between the PFA and FFA can deliver for the clubs and the A-League.”

The PFA Injury Report also demonstrated, once again, the strong linkages between low injury rates and on-field performance.

“The Central Coast Mariners who were A-League Premiers in the 2011/12 season, suffered both the fewest number of players injured, and also had the fewest number of weeks lost to injury”, Schwab noted.

“This was the fourth occasion in seven seasons that the A-League Premiers were also ranked as having the best injury record. It demonstrates that good injury management practices lead to success on the field.”

The data from the report also shows that a failure to provide best standard injury management and prevention practices leads to poor performances. The 2011/12 Injury Report found that Gold Coast United, which finished last in the A-League Premiership had one of the worst injury records. The failure by Gold Coast United to comply with the minimum medical standards required by the competition was a factor in this injury record.

Schwab sounded one note of caution, “Even though there was an improvement in injury rates this season, the total cumulative cost to clubs of injuries has now exceeded $25,000,000 since the A-League commenced. The improved injury rates for the 2011/12 season should be seen as a good start, not as a time for resting on our laurels. The evidence is now clear that on-field performance is strongly related to the efficient management of injuries, and that clubs which do more to assist their players reap the benefit on the field.”

“After a season where player insurance has been under the spotlight, the importance of sound injury prevention and management from both a financial and player wellbeing perspective simply can’t be understated.”

For a copy of the full 2010/11 PFA A-League Injury Report click here