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Comparison of injuries in elite senior and junior Australian football

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      Three thousand and thirty one AFL and 1034 injuries in the VSFL U/18 competition were recorded by club doctors over the 1992, 1993 and 1994 seasons. Hamstring strains had the highest incidence (86.4 per 10,000 player hours) and prevalence (30.2 hours missed per 1000 hours) of any injury in the AFL, but were significantly less common in the U/18 competition. Other injuries which were common in both competitions were ankle sprains, thigh haematomas, concussion, groin strains and head lacerations. Injury prevalence was higher overall in the AFL, with lower limb muscle strains (hamstring, calf, quadriceps) being significantly more prevalent than in the U/18 competition. Injuries which were significantly more prevalent in the U/18 competition included stress fractures and concussion. Subsequent to this study, coaches and medical staff in the U/18 competition were made aware of the high risk of stress fractures in young footballers with heavy training loads. The AFL injury survey is ongoing and in the process of being computerised; risk factors for specific injuries with high rates are being studied further.
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