Why do so many women get horror knee injuries? Beth Mead wants action after a spate of career-threatening blows including to her and partner Vivianne Miedema – insisting ‘if that happened with Messi and Ronaldo there’s going to be a lot more done’
- Euro 2022 hero Beth Mead ruptured her anterior cruciate ligament last month
- Her partner and Arsenal team-mate Vivianne Miedema also injured her ACL
- It means five of the top 16 players in the Ballon d’Or vote have the same issue
- Mead is calling for research into why so many women get horror knee injuries
- The England star was named BBC Sports Personality of the Year on Wednesday
Beth Mead wants to spearhead research into why so many female footballers suffer serious knee injuries — claiming the authorities would do a lot more if it was a crisis in the men’s game.
The newly crowned BBC Sports Personality of the Year ruptured her anterior cruciate ligament last month and is a major doubt for next summer’s World Cup in Australia and New Zealand, when the Lionesses will try to repeat their success at Euro 2022.
Mead’s partner and Arsenal team-mate Vivianne Miedema also injured her ACL last week, meaning five of the top 16 players in October’s Ballon d’Or vote are out with the same problem. That includes the winner Alexia Putellas, and the only other women to have previously claimed the prestigious award — Megan Rapinoe and Ada Hegerberg — have both had ACL injuries in the past.
Sports Personality of the Year Beth Mead has called for research into why so many female footballers have suffered serious knee injuries – with the England star one of which affected
Mead and her partner and Arsenal team-mate Vivianne Miedema (right) are both out of action with ACL injuries and turned up to the Sports Personality of the Year awards on crutches
‘I think if that happened with Messi, Ronaldo, Griezmann there’s probably going to be a lot more done,’ said England star Mead, who was the Ballon d’Or runner-up after claiming the Golden Boot at the Euros.
Mead joins the list of high-profile players to suffer an ACL injury:
Vivianne Miedema (Arsenal and Netherlands)
Alexia Putellas (Barcelona and Spain)
Marie-Antoinette Katoto (PSG and France)
Catarina Macario (Lyon and USA)
Ellie Carpenter (Lyon and Australia)
‘I see myself as quite a robust player but this has still happened. Viv’s also quite a robust player. We’ve not generally been hit with injuries, so I do think we need to look into it a lot more.
‘There doesn’t seem to be a lot of research going on. Unfortunately, this has happened to us but hopefully it can kick somebody up the a*** to go on and start doing something.
‘It’s something I would like to push forward — I have plenty of time to do so now.’
A previous study found that female athletes are up to six times more likely to suffer ACL injuries than men. One reason given is that changing hormones across the menstrual cycle can affect the physiology and biomechanics of the body and create looser joints.
However, the FA conducted their own study into the prevalence of ACL injuries in women’s football over the last four seasons and found they accounted for just 1.3 per cent of all injuries. Yet in the Women’s Super League alone, 10 senior players are out with the problem.
Lionesses boss Sarina Wiegman said: ‘FIFA, UEFA and the federations have to do something about this. There’s lots of research in the men’s game, but not the women’s.
Mead will miss the rest of the WSL season ahead of the World Cup after rupturing her ACL
‘Women are built differently from men, the hips and the knees are different, the angles are different. We will also talk about scheduling because now the top-level players will have five consecutive tournaments in a row. The demands of the game are getting higher and higher.’
ACL injuries usually take at least nine months to return from, meaning Mead will miss the rest of the WSL season ahead of the World Cup.
‘I’m two weeks post-op now and I’m in a really good position,’ added Mead. ‘It’s a difficult one to put a time stamp on because you can wake up one morning and it’s stiff and you can’t do anything and another morning you feel you could run on the pitch.
‘I’m going to take each day as it comes, that’s what Mum has always told me, and I will work my a*** off in that gym to get myself in the best possible position for next year.’
Sarina Wiegman joined Mead in calling for research into the number of serious knee injuries
Alexia Putellas is another big-name player who has suffered a serious knee injury
Meanwhile, Mead’s fellow SPOTY nominee Eve Muirhead fears for the future of curling after revealing that ice rinks are under threat of closure due to rising energy prices.
The Scot, 32, finished third on Wednesday night after leading Britain’s women’s curling team to gold at the Winter Olympics in February.
But although she hopes her Olympic and SPOTY success can inspire the next generation into her sport, she worries that the facilities may not be there for them to try it out.
‘An ice rink is not cheap to run and there are some that could go. That would be devastating,’ she said. ‘It would be great if we didn’t see doors closing and, if anything, see more doors open.’
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