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Written by Oluwaseun Oyediji

FIFPRO announced the launch of Project ACL on Tuesday, a three year research initiative designed to address the steep uptick in anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) injuries across professional women’s football.

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Project ACL is a joint venture between FIFPRO, England’s Professional Footballers’ Association (PFA), Nike, and Leeds Beckett University.

While the main case study will focus on the Women’s Super League (WSL) in the United Kingdom (UK), the researchers intend to distribute their findings around the world.

With both domestic and international programming in the women’s game on the rise, some of the sport’s biggest stars have gone down with season-ending ACL injuries in recent years.

ACL tears are between two- and six-times more likely to occur in women footballers than men, per The Guardian.

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Chelsea and Australia forward Sam Kerr was sidelined with the injury in January 2024, followed by many more cases just this year.

Top stars like Vivianne Miedema, Beth Mead, Catarina Macario, and Marta have all struggled with the injury in recent years, though all have since made returns to the field.

This week, the Spirit announced defender Anna Heilferty would miss the rest of the National Women's Soccer League (NWSL) season with a torn ACL. The news comes less than two weeks after Bay FC captain Alex Loera went down with the same injury.

Meanwhile...

Project ACL will closely study players in the WSL, monitoring travel, training, and recovery practices to look for trends that could be used to prevent the injury in the future.

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Availability of sports science and medical resources within individual clubs will be taken into account.

ACL injuries in women's football have long outpaced the same injury in the men's game, but resources for specialized prevention and treatment still lag behind.

Investment in achieving a deeper, more specialized understanding of the problem should hopefully bear good results throughout the sport.

Kindly Email: keepup@bettitude.com

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