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AFL Exploring Link of Menstrual Cycle & ACLs


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While a number of physiological and biological factors are understood to contribute to a female being two to 10 times more likely to suffer the injury compared to male counterparts, the league believes there is a correlation between the female cycle and the season-ending injury.

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Dr Georgie Bruinvels: “The menstrual cycle is an inflammatory process and excess inflammation can result in an injury. It’s not solely down to high levels of oestrogen, but tracking the cycle is also very important in terms of bone-injury risk.”

Is it that hard to read an article before commenting? (Exceptions granted for those who prefer to avoid the Murdoch press). 

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This notion is not new and there is already a lot of research available.

I was reading scientific papers ( for a non related project ) over twenty years ago and I came across an article about young female athletes using the pill to alter their menstrual cycles to try and avoid such injuries.

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4 hours ago, Skuit said:

Dr Georgie Bruinvels: “The menstrual cycle is an inflammatory process and excess inflammation can result in an injury. It’s not solely down to high levels of oestrogen, but tracking the cycle is also very important in terms of bone-injury risk.”

Is it that hard to read an article before commenting? (Exceptions granted for those who prefer to avoid the Murdoch press). 

Interesting that we are conditioned to accept the impact the cycle can have on women -- their personality, hormes, energy levels etc -- but as soon as it comes to AFLW we have to tow the line, and not dare say it can have a detrimental impact on their physical capabilities (which science shows it clearly does). You should see some of the comments on Facebook. you would think these doctor's are celebrating eugenics.

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1 hour ago, praha said:

but as soon as it comes to AFLW we have to tow the line, and not dare say it can have a detrimental impact on their physical capabilities (which science shows it clearly does).

To be fair, I don't think any reasonably-minded person gets irked by statements such as "the menstrual cycle is probably a significant factor for female athletes regarding injury and performance".  People justifiably roll their eyes when 'expert' blokes explain that this is somehow a reason that women shouldn't play elite sport.

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7 hours ago, Accepting Mediocrity said:

To be fair, I don't think any reasonably-minded person gets irked by statements such as "the menstrual cycle is probably a significant factor for female athletes regarding injury and performance".  People justifiably roll their eyes when 'expert' blokes explain that this is somehow a reason that women shouldn't play elite sport.

yes that's fair. but on the flip side, that these sexist armchair experts exist shouldn't detract from reasonable discussion and criticism about the state and condition of AFLW.

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13 hours ago, Skuit said:

Dr Georgie Bruinvels: “The menstrual cycle is an inflammatory process and excess inflammation can result in an injury. It’s not solely down to high levels of oestrogen, but tracking the cycle is also very important in terms of bone-injury risk.”

Is it that hard to read an article before commenting? (Exceptions granted for those who prefer to avoid the Murdoch press). 

I claim the exception AND I claim points for grasping the general issue before commenting.

It would be surprising to see a significant link, but on the other hand, in that way that sports medicine sometimes does, a good bit of epidemiology here could lead to a fascinating addition to a chronically understudied aspect of human bodies.

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The inaugural Bulldogs AFWL coach mentioned this 2 years ago as guest speaker at a lunch. There was an awareness that many of the ligament injuries occurred  coinciding with the monthly cycle but there was no direct correlation. It was assumed that hormonal changes may be a contributing factor but also mentioned the different pelvis structure and running gait may contribute.

The complication for a club is would you not select someone because of their cycle. Equally many players don't get injured when they play at that time of the month. Certainly there are lots of knee redo's performed on netballer  and one orthopaedic surgeon I know said he did way more redo's on net ballers than footballers.

If there is a direct correlation what will the clubs do about it?

 

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Late to the game here, but I welcome any and all research on this topic. It absolutely falls under reasoned and justified discussion of the league, purely because, for top-level footy, it's a completely new area that all (or most) players, teams and clubs have to learn to address. This goes down to changeroom design, training of coaches in this regard, and so on. People who say that if there is a link to injury, then women shouldn't be playing, blatantly ignore the massive health and social benefits that the many players who'll never do an ACL enjoy.

More research can only help, given that men's bodies have historically often been the default in medical science. There'll be more and more data as women's sports (particularly contact ones) move into better-resourced, semi-professional territory. Probably if menstruation is a factor in ACL injuries, it's likely to be a risk factor that coincides with several others to create a 'perfect storm' scenario. Anecdotally, it feels like there are fewer ACL injuries at VFLW level, for example, but that's just an impression not actual numbers.

On a slightly different angle, openness about menstruation, while uncomfortable to some, is of vital importance for girls and young women's continued engagement with sport. It's not so much about someone's cycle impeding their ability to play (there's wide variation in the impact for individuals), it's the stigma and silence around it that causes worries - without going into too much detail - about uniform design, facilities and access to knowledge about how to manage it or even who to turn to for that support. I hope AFLW can be part of addressing that - I've gone into it here just because, how often does this topic come up on Demonland! ?

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This has been out there for a long time. Olympic athletes are very aware of this and utilize the pill to make sure they avoid clashes with competition etc.

The science is pretty clear and surprised the clubs don't already have the players on the pill in order to mitigate the risks like they do in other sports and pro leagues overseas.

 

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