Manchester United Women’s captain says amount of ACL injuries is ‘obscene’

Manchester United captain Katie Zelem said the amount of ACL injuries is “obscene” – and blames scheduling of the matches in the women’s game for an increase in injury. 

United announced on Saturday that Jess Simpson has returned from loan at Bristol City with an ACL injury- which will rule her out for the rest of the season. 

This is the third injury for the team this season with defender Gabby George and midfielder Emma Watson both picking up ACL injuries in the last month. 

Speaking to Mancunian Matters Zelem said: “I think the amount of ACL injuries in the women’s game at the minute is obscene. 

“I think the issue of loading has really come to the forefront now. Some of the girls in the WSL have between five and 14 days off between the World Cup and the start of the season.” 

ACL injuries have been somewhat of an epidemic in recent years in women’s football. 

Research from the British Orthopaedic Association shows that female athletes are up to six times more likely to have a non-contact injury than male sports stars. 

Zelem called for better support for ACL injuries on and off the pitch. 

She said: “There certainly needs to be better support for players regarding ACL injuries because it is almost becoming normal and that should never be the case.”

England manager Sarina Weigman agreed that the intensity of matches was an issue. 

Speaking to the BBC she said: “With the growth of the game we have to keep an eye on players.

“The demands of the game are getting higher with shorter turnarounds and players need some rest.”

Anterior cruciate ligament injuries can take upwards of 12 months to heal and often leave players out for whole seasons.

As we head into the international break Weigman has chosen not to call up Euro 2022 Golden Boot winner, Beth Mead, who picked up an ACL injury last year while playing at Arsenal in the WSL.

This is to allow her to continue her recovery despite Mead returning to action for her club this month.

Mead is one of four ACL injuries sustained at Arsenal last season, another being England captain Leah Williamson, who like Mead missed the World Cup in Australia over the summer.

Featured image courtesy of James Boyes on Flickr.

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