Background: Australian Rules Football is one of the most popular sports in Australia. Successful injury prevention relies on injury surveillance to establish the extent of injuries, to monitor injury patterns and to evaluate prevention strategies. Despite the popularity of participation at the community level, few injury surveillance studies have been published, so a detailed review of the literature is vital. There is limited information available outside of the elite level. Injury statistics for any professional sport may not necessarily be translatable to community sport level.
Objective: To document the most prevalent injuries at the elite, junior elite, amateur and junior level and determine if incidences differ across levels of play. Aetiology and significant risk factors for injuries are emphasized and prevention and treatment discussed.
Discussion: Injuries on average are more common at the elite level compared with other levels of participation. The type of injury varies slightly, with non contact injuries, particularly muscle strains, being the most common. Of these, the hamstring strain is the most common. Aetiology and risk factors vary between levels of play due to a time basis, physical development, speed of play and skill level. Recurrence rates are a concern for clubs and players, although rates are decreasing at the elite level, indicating better treatment and conservative management of injured players.
Keywords: Australian Rules Football, AFL, injuries