Women’s World Cup: ACL injuries will sideline several top players from the 2023 Women’s World Cup. These key players’ absences highlight a recurring issue in women’s soccer.
Simone Magill’s 2022 Women’s Euros with Northern Ireland was hopeful. Her small nation’s participation in a major soccer tournament was impressive. Magill tore his ACL in the team’s opener against Norway. Her injury devastated her immediately.
Magill’s story is common. ACL injuries will keep England’s captain Leah Williamson, Netherlands’ record scorer Vivianne Miedema, and Euro 2022 top scorer Beth Mead out of the Women’s World Cup.
ACL injuries have sidelined rising stars like Cat Macario of the US Women’s National Team, Giulia Gwinn of Germany, and Switzerland’s teenage midfielder Iman Beney.
Many female soccer players in Europe’s top leagues suffered ACL injuries in 2022/23. Why are female players more prone to such injuries?
The ACL stabilizes the knee by connecting the thigh and shin bones. In soccer, football, basketball, and other sports, high-speed direction changes injure it most.
ACL tears require surgery and six to 12 months of recovery. Players miss entire seasons due to this prolonged absence. ACL injuries are three to six times more common in women than men. Female soccer and basketball players are three times more likely to tear their ACLs.
25% of 2022 Ballon d’Or Féminin nominees had ACL injuries. The 30 2022 men’s Ballon d’Or nominees had no ACL injuries.
Female soccer players have a higher risk of ACL injuries due to a lack of funding, according to researchers and experts. ACL injuries are inevitable, but controllable factors can lower their rate.
Senior sports rehabilitation lecturer Dr. Katrine Okholm Kryger believes hormonal fluctuations and anatomical differences are oversimplified. Menstrual cycle and anatomical factors appear to have little effect on ACL injuries.
Kryger believes gendered and controllable factors cause the ACL tear gap in soccer. She emphasizes women’s soccer’s lack of early training facilities and resources. Women’s academies lag behind elite men’s.
Women’s clubs receive fewer funds than men’s clubs because women’s soccer is still professionalizing. Male and female players have different career paths. Due to financial constraints, many female soccer players, like Manchester United’s Rachel Williams, have had to work other jobs.
Shoes also contribute to ACL injuries. Most football boots don’t account for women’s foot anatomy. Women’s feet are smaller, wider, and have different ankle shapes than men’s. Uncomfortable boots can cause injuries.
Women’s soccer needs more funding to reduce ACL injuries. Medical facilities, strength and conditioning programs, and women-specific footwear can prevent ACL tears.
The Women’s World Cup 2023 is expected to set a record for attendance. ACL injuries in women’s soccer will be scrutinized worldwide. To reduce female player ACL injuries, we must recognize that change is possible and act.
Our Reader’s Queries
How often is the Women’s World Cup held?
Similar to the men’s World Cup, the Women’s World Cup is overseen by the Fédération Internationale de Football Association (FIFA) and occurs every four years.
Who has won the FIFA Women’s World Cup?
The United States have clinched victory four times. Germany, with two titles, and Japan, Norway, and Spain, each with one title, have also triumphed. The Women’s World Cup has been hosted by eight different countries.
Which country will host women’s FIFA World Cup?
In 2011, Germany dominated with a goal difference of +3. In 2015, Canada held their own with a goal difference of +1. France took the lead in 2019, boasting a goal difference of +6. Looking ahead to 2023, Australia is showing promise with a goal difference of +2.
What is the current status of the Women’s World Cup?
The 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup concluded with Spain clinching its inaugural World Cup victory.