The recent injury to Sam Kerr serves as a stark reminder of the prevalence and impact of ACL injuries in women’s sports.

Estimated read time 5 min read

Unfortunately, on Sunday, another well-known female athlete joined the growing number of players who have suffered from the notorious ACL injury. Chelsea’s star striker, Sam Kerr, hurt herself during the team’s training camp in Morocco and will be unable to play for an unknown amount of time.

The latest player to be impacted by ACL injuries in women’s soccer is an Australian forward. Currently, there are 13 Women’s Super League players undergoing recovery, including England’s captain Leah Williamson, Manchester United’s defender Gabby George, and Leicester’s winger Hannah Cain.

Kerr is a highly regarded figure in the sport, and her departure will be greatly missed by both her team and her national team. As her contract expires at the end of this year, there is speculation about her potential return to playing for Chelsea.

After four years in west London, she has emerged as a prominent player in Emma Hayes’s team, netting 99 goals in 128 games. Her innate ability to score, especially in high-pressure situations, is unmatched and has greatly contributed to the Blues’ impressive collection of trophies (four WSL titles, three FA Cups, two League Cups) since she joined.

The significant calf injury she suffered on the eve of last summer’s World Cup – one which she was still feeling the effects of at the start of this season – had made it a slow campaign so far by her high standards.

Despite being 30 years old, the player continues to have a major impact as Chelsea strives for their fifth consecutive league title and another shot at the elusive Champions League. This will also be Hayes’s last season with the club.

Assuming the role of captain while Millie Bright is injured, she has scored four goals in the WSL and is currently tied as the leading scorer in the Champions League with Salma Paralluelo of Barcelona.

Hayes praised the player’s exceptional ability to skillfully score goals, stating that she is always quick to react and make decisive moves. After the player scored three goals against Paris FC, Hayes expressed her admiration, saying that even at 80% performance, she would gladly have her on the team every week. She eagerly anticipates seeing the player at full potential, which she believes will be even more impressive.

Sam Kerr playing for Australia

Unfortunately, both Hayes and Chelsea will not have the benefit of a completely healthy Kerr for this season. This presents a predicament for the manager to address. Should she continue with the current players or seek out another striker during the January transfer window?

Kerr’s value goes beyond her scoring abilities. Her press, energy, instinctive vision, and leadership are unmatched. It is rare to find players with all of these qualities.

Mia Fishel, who is 22 years old, was signed as a substitute striker during the summer. Although she has great potential, she has not reached the level of Kerr yet. Catarina Macario, another American player, is also a promising forward and is getting ready to come back to the field.

She joined the team from Lyon during the summer, but unfortunately suffered an ACL injury in June 2022. As a result, she had to take a long break and will likely need more time to fully recover. While she is able to play as a striker, she is usually positioned as an attacking midfielder, working closely with the forward in front of her.

Ignore the promotional newsletter offer.

The absence of Kerr will also be a significant blow for Australia, who are looking to qualify for the Olympics this summer. Tony Gustavsson’s Matildas will have to adapt to life without their captain and all-time leading goalscorer once more after her injury problems at the 2023 World Cup.

In February, they will compete against Uzbekistan in the AFC Olympic qualifying round, where they are expected to come out on top. If it were not for Tokyo 2020, Kerr would have participated in her third Olympics and potentially won a medal.

Sustaining an ACL injury is a devastating setback for anyone, typically leading to a minimum of nine months away from the field. The rehabilitation process is lengthy and can be isolating, and varies for each individual. The documentary Step by Step, featuring Arsenal players Beth Mead and Vivianne Miedema, shed light on this aspect as it documented their comeback journey.

Females have a higher risk of sustaining an ACL injury compared to males, with a likelihood of three to six times more. A significant amount of effort is being dedicated to comprehending the root causes, potential methods of prevention, and ways to recover from such injuries. However, the complexity lies in the fact that there are multiple factors involved, and the combination of these factors can vary greatly.

A recent report, the Uefa Women’s Elite Club Injury Study, examined 1,527 injuries that occurred between 2018 and 2022. The report, published last week, revealed that 64% of ACL injuries were caused by non-contact.

There are numerous factors that can play a role in causing problems, such as overloading, uneven distribution of weight, the natural cycle in females, levels of stress, and the type of surface being used. In December 2023, the players’ union, Fifpro, released a report that brought attention to the potential effects of workload, distance traveled, and time spent traveling.

It is clear that the organizations and teams in women’s football must continue to improve in order to provide their players with the best opportunity to avoid such a difficult injury.

Kerr will now need to begin the challenging journey of recovering. The football community will surely feel her absence, and both Chelsea and the WSL will hope that this is not the end for their influential striker in England.


You May Also Like

More From Author