Janine Beckie Calls for Funding and Resources to Address Injury Crisis in Women’s Football

Following the devastating news that she won’t be playing in the 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup due to an anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) injury, Janine Beckie has called for better research into the prevalence of injuries in women’s football.

The Canada and Portland Thorns forward Beckie says that alarm bells would ring if their male counterparts were suffering the same fate.

Speaking to Reuters she said: “I think that a lot of people have boiled it down for so long to ‘Oh, it’s just more common in women, and a common injury in women’s soccer.’ but it seems like there’s been this massive jump in the amount that it’s happening now. I don’t know what the reason is but someone needs to figure it out”.

The Olympic gold medalist for Canada tore her right ACL last month while playing in an NWSL preseason game for the Portland Thorns.

Studies have found that women are up to six times more likely to sustain the injury. However, Beckie says that statistics like these shouldn’t be normalized.

“I do believe that if the same thing happened even with Arsenal’s men’s side with probably their three best players, that should be enough for a: ‘Why is this happening? Look into this,’” Beckie told Reuters.

England captain and Arsenal centre-back Leah Williamson last week became the latest marquee player – and third for Arsenal this season along with Beth Mead and Vivianne Miedema – to rupture an ACL.

Spain’s Ballon d’Or winner Alexia Putellas, Simone Magill of Northern Ireland and France striker Marie-Antoinette Katoto have also damaged ACLs in the past year.

“You’ve changed the schedule to mimic the men yet you’re not giving the female players the same level of resources”

“Premier League players are playing 40-, 50-plus games a season and are able to maintain fitness levels because they’re treated like gold, which they should be. If you’re going ask an elite athlete to play 50 games a season, you’ve got provide them the top-of-the-line care.”

“I think if that had happened in the men’s game, a lot more would have been done sooner. It’s important for us to drive the different factors and aspects around why it’s happening so often.”

Alex Culvin of global players’ union FIFPRO weighed in, “Part of the problem is that there is no gender-specific research into the issue.”

“Women are often viewed as little men, if you like, and the critical factors are not assessed through a gender-specific lens,”

“The data that does exist doesn’t pertain actually to women” added Culvin, FIFPRO’s senior coordinator, policy and strategic relations.

Beckie, who underwent surgery a month ago and just received the green light to start walking, said female players are conditioned to accept the gap in resources. The difference is amplified, she added, by the fact women are facing increasingly busy game schedules.

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