Saturday, June 15, 2024

Jonas Eidevall confirms ongoing internal review on ACL injuries but calls for external co-operation too

Arsenal manager Jonas Eidevall has described Laura Wienroither’s ACL injury as “a tragedy.” The Austrian ruptured her ACL during the 3-2 defeat to Wolfsburg on Monday, becoming the fourth Arsenal player to suffer this injury this season. Eidevall said the club will continue an ongoing process of internal reflection on the injuries, which are a long standing feature across women’s football.

“It is a tragedy for the player and for us as a team, we are very disappointed and sad. It doesn’t change the way that we were looking at that situation, we need to continue to do that and as always look at things we can improve on for the future but also to give Laura the best possible medical care to Laura so she can return as safely and as quickly as possible. Our medical team does a fantastic job with that.”

Eidevall said that the injury, which has always been rife across women’s football for a long time, is likely to be down to a number of factors, internal and external. “I am afraid there is not one single answer, it is multi-faceted. We need to look at the complete picture and see which factors we can control. What we can learn and what we can do better. We need to look at that internally to see what we can do better in the future.

“Some parts are internal and things we can control, then there are things we need external co-operation with. For example, the playing schedule or the co-operation between clubs and national teams or how and when competitions are played and how the international match calendar is done. That requires governing bodies, clubs and national teams working together.

“There are bits that I think clubs can solve internally but there are a lot of things that require the whole world of football to co-operate, we need to do both. We have done that the last three years, I think I said to Tim before that this is an ongoing process where we continually audit our injuries and benchmark that, how many injuries and what type of injuries compared to match hours and training hours and so on. Of course, to learn from that, to see how we are performing compared to our competitors. None of that changes, we continue to do that and that reflection will make us better for the future.”

If Arsenal were to finish third in the WSL this season (they are currently fourth), they would enter a Champions League qualifying round 16 days after this summer’s World Cup Final. Eidevall says this illustrates issues with the women’s calendar.

“That shows how bad the calendar is. We want to try to finish as high as possible in the table, we want to try to go into the Champions League and we need to do whatever necessary to get there.

“But it highlights a very important issue, if you want to protect players and you want to have importance for the World Cup and the Champions League, but it is impossible for the clubs who are going to play in that playoff round.

“I think there are also qualifying rounds that happen during the World Cup. It really highlights the issues with the calendar, where really important stakeholders like UEFA and FIFA can’t schedule tournaments better to allow players time off.

“It is very evident from this summer that this World Cup (which starts in late July) should have been played earlier. It is evident. That would have meant the players could finish the season, have some time off, prepare for the World Cup without so much time off they lose their fitness, they play the World Cup, then there is a gap so they have time off again and then we can start the Champions League qualifiers and the league openers.

“But they didn’t get it right, hopefully in the future they can do it better.”

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Daz Pants

I keep reading that these ACL injuries are rife in the women’s game, and certainly more common than in the men’s game. I remember they were a lot more common in men’s football in the 80s and early 90s. While professional football was not in its relative infancy as women’s is at present, there maybe an argument that men’s football was in it’s infancy in its degree of professionalism, which could be said of women’s football now? I’d be interested to know how rife the problem is in the women’s game. I’m relatively new to it, so am comparatively ill-informed… Read more »

#define

Women in general have a higher incidence of knee injury when playing sports that involve extensive knee adjustments, this is well documented. The reasons are not as well known, I’ve heard everything from weight distribution to landing angles, etc. Someone has to come up with ways to minimize them, though I fear that its going to be a phenomenon for a while as more professionals take the field.

Heavenly Chapecoense

Anything subject where you address women separately is politically incorrect but this is one case where it should be done for the good. May I say in the jargon that menstruating women (to be intersectional) face more ACL than non-menstruating men?

#define

Since you brought it up. 🙂
My idea of a woman is someone who has a certain set of chromosomes – XX. I also understand and respect that there are some that psychologically identify as a different gender than their chromosomes indicate. But, I personally do not want to change the centuries old word to now add chromosomal fluidity. IMO, It is better to come up with a new word rather than trying to jam things into words for the sake of some kind of ‘political correctness’ (whatever PC stands for these days).

Fun Gunner

Agree 100%.

Hurensohn

“Anything subject where you address women separately is politically incorrect”

Hmm, and why is that? The league they play in itself is called the Women’s Super League. I really hope this is a satirical comment.

Hurensohn

“Also the academy system is still essentially amateur so when women become pro, they are thrown into a pro schedule without a background of nutrition advice and S&C support.” – If you apply a general elimination methodology to this it falls down because the same would apply to men’s sport at a lower level but we know it doesn’t.

Tim Stillman

I would say fairly confidently that most men’s players from top 7-8 tiers would have more professional junior / academy football than women’s players. But, in any case, even the most basic care like warm ups would’ve been designed with male athletes in mind. Those lower levels still benefit from the widely known and widely practiced cars that we take for granted.

Hurensohn

I would pretty confidently argue that players currently playing in the male lower leagues have a lesser “background of nutrition advice and S&C support.” than the women in the WSL. I’d go as far as saying you could even look at grassroots sports where there is no S&C support like male Saturday/Sunday league and you would find a lower incidence of ACL injuries to international female footballers. Let’s avoid the football comparison though and look at a well developed female sport like tennis. ACL injuries in female tennis players are something like 5x more common. You’re going to have a… Read more »

Hurensohn

If you understand the physics of ACL injuries you can eliminate quite a few possible reasons for the higher incidence in Women’s sport. It’s actually quite bizarre that there is a suggestion that the number of games could play a part (even given that they have played less than 40 games since September) other than the fact there would be more injuries if you play 10 games vs 20 games. Fatigue is not a factor in ACL injuries beyond the idea that your gait and balance are worse when you are tired. However, if this was a driving factor then… Read more »

chig

I really hope they started a serious internal review earlier than the Williamson and now Wienroither injuries. So incredible that its the same serious injury over and over in one club. Who’s next?

chig

I take your point that its a wider problem but 4 ACL injuries in 7 months is an alarming statistic.

Fun Gunner

Well said, Jonas. I think this is just bad luck.
And he’s spot on about the timing of the World Cup. It’s causing problems between clubs and national federations because clubs don’t want to release their players to join up with the national teams, knowing that many of the players won’t get a rest afterwards.

Buster

What part does the pitch play? Williamson got injured in Manchester. All three other at the Emirates. Is the Emirates pitch e.g. softer than Meadow Park’s?
There of course have been knee injuries in previous years when they did not play at the Emirates but watching how Wienroither’s knee buckled when running and touching ground made me wonder if the ground was softer and played a part.

Steve Vallins

I do remember the ex Coventry City manager Gordon Strachan banning his players from wearing the Adidas Predator boot . I believe it was due to the shape of the studs which when the boot was planted in the turf there was no give or movement , so the next stress point was the ankle if not there it was the knee . I’m pretty sure Robert Pires was wearing the Predator boot when he damaged his ACL against Newcastle , again don’t know numbers re ACL injuries with players wearing the Adidas Predator , but footwear could be a… Read more »

Tim Stillman

Could be one of the factors. Laura Wienroither was wearing a Puma boot designed for her foot. Beth, Leah (both Nike) and Viv (adidas) all have boot deals and wear custom designed boots so I am not sure in this scenario. I think, more widely, there is definitely a chance boots / kit more generally a factor.

Ozenal

Women generally have proportionally smaller feet size to their height than men which exacerbated their already smaller sizes. I am sure this has an effect on cushioning and suspension system of feet. And in modern times female leisure footwear is often tight fitting and restrictive, so the recovery can also be hindered. One thing I have noticed fitting footwear on women is that the footwear is alot narrower and therefore the seams are alot less margin for error. Considering the men’s game alot of the players have customised footwear by the manufacturer. I would like to see some analysis done… Read more »

Ozenal

It odd clear that nothing is changing soon from fifa or uefa. But it would be in the best interests of the boot brands to ensure all their athletes complete the season and stay healthy. Perhaps this is an opportunity for the women’s game to show the strength of collaboration and have a women’s health database shared across multiple areas of sports, whether that is between footwear brands or between different sports. I am sure there are some very clever female specific doctors and experts who could contribute but are probably otherwise siloed in their own industry or company. Organising… Read more »

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