A New Study published in the Asian Journal of Sports Medicine highlights the effectiveness of the A-League Minimum Medical Standards (MMS) in reducing the incidence of injury and games missed as a result in the competition.


Undertaken by FIFPro, the world players’ association, and Professional Footballers Australia (PFA), the objective of the study was to explore whether the introduction of the MMS had led to a decrease in games missed as a result of injury and the number of injuries suffered.

Examining five consecutive seasons of the A-League, the study revealed that the introduction of the MMS ahead of the 2011/12 season had resulted in an immediate 68% decrease in the number of games missed due to injury when compared to the previous campaign when they were not in place.

Whilst also highlighting their effectiveness in reducing the incidence of injury, the research also identified three key aspects of the MMS in reducing injury rates in the A-League:


>> medical testing prior to the commencement of competition;

>> the mandatory presence of a qualified physiotherapist at all training sessions and matches; and

>> the mandatory presence of a club doctor at all matches.


Despite having reduced the rates of injury and games missed as a result, the study revealed the continued high costs associated with injury for A-League clubs. In the five seasons that were examined, from the 2008/09 to the 2012/13 season, the study showed that injuries had cost clubs in excess of $23 million.

FIFPro Chief Medical Officer Vincent Gouttebarge said the study demonstrated the effectiveness of the MMS and illustrated the benefits of adopting the measures.

“The approach of the PFA with regard to monitoring injury occurrence in the A-League and implementing Minimum Medical Standards through a collective bargaining agreement is a very good example for other players’ unions,” said Gouttebarge.

“A basic structure within professional football clubs leads to a decrease of injuries, which empowers the health and safety of players as well as their performances.”

With the study cautioning that the effectiveness of the MMS required ongoing review, PFA Chairman Craig Foster said the findings highlighted the importance of the MMS being part of the collective bargaining agreement (CBA).

“The introduction of the Minimum Medical Standards was a matter that the PFA pushed for a number of seasons prior to their introduction and demonstrate how effective the partnership between the PFA and Football Federation Australia can be,” said Foster.

“The recently agreed A-League CBA has seen further strengthening of the Minimum Medical Standards and this study highlights the effectiveness of including these measures as part of the CBA to ensure that they are continually reviewed and analysed and that players have a voice in shaping measures that affect their health and safety.

“For the A-League to be at its best it is critical that the best players are on the pitch regularly. If this is not the case the attractiveness of the on-pitch product is severely reduced.”


For the full study go to: http://asjsm.com/?page=article&article_id=31385