The number of games missed through injury is on the rise for the first time since the introduction of the ‘Minimum Medical Standards’ as Professional Footballers Australia (PFA) releases its 2013/14 A-League Injury Report.

PFA Chief Executive Adam Vivian announced the findings of the 8th edition of the PFA A-League Injury Report today, which saw the number of games missed through injury increase to 704 games, up from the 2012/13 season’s total of 542 games, representing an increase of almost 30 per cent.

Despite a spike in the amount of games missed through injury the number of injuries incurred by players remained identical to the previous campaign’s total of 162.

Of the ten A-League club’s only Melbourne Victory and Melbourne City (Heart) managed to reduce both the number of injuries suffered by players and the number of games missed through injury when compared to the previous campaign, with injuries costing clubs $4.74 million for the 2013/14 season up by $700,000 on 2012/13.

Consistent with the findings of previous reports, knee, groin and hamstring injuries remained the most common suffered by players.

“The findings of the Injury Report raises concerns as to whether the ‘Minimum Medical Standards’ remain adequate or whether they are being complied with,” said Vivian. “As a result of these concerns the PFA will introduce site inspections for the coming A-League season with the aim of working with the clubs and Football Federation Australia (FFA) to ensure a truly ‘world class’ workplace for our members.

“Throughout the history of the A-League the Injury Report has repeatedly highlighted the link between the on field performance of clubs and injury. If the standard of the competition is to continue to rise it is vital that clubs are able to field their best possible teams. At points throughout the 2013/14 season this was not the case with some clubs on occasions being unable to field up to six members of their squad due to injury.

“Ensuring the health and safety of the players must be a priority of all stakeholders. The PFA remains committed to working with the clubs and FFA in its pursuit of a ‘world class’ workplace, something that the PFA Injury Report has continually highlighted is in the best interests of all.

“Additionally the PFA would like to acknowledge the invaluable input of FIFPro Chief Medical Officer Doctor Vincent Gouttebarge, leading Australia Academic Braham Dabscheck and Senior Scientist at Aquarian Labs Edmond Sorich into the 2013/14 PFA A-League Injury Report.”