Isaac Heeney is helped from the ground during the round six match between Sydney and Richmond at the Gabba on July 12, 2020. Picture: AFL Photos

THE AFL has released the 29th Annual AFL Injury Report following the consolidation of injury data relating to the 2020 Toyota AFL Premiership Season which showed the overall injury incidence has remained relatively stable. 

The total injury incidence (number of new injuries per club per season) was 33.1 new injuries per club in 2020.

The three most common injuries in 2020 were hamstring strains, calf strains and medical illness which is consistent with the 2019 season.

Hamstring strains remain the most common injury in the AFL with an incidence of 4.86 new injuries per club, and the most common cause of matches missed with 15 AFL matches missed per club.

Calf strains were the second most common injury with an incidence of 2.61 new injuries per club in 2020.

Over recent years we have continued to take action to strengthen match-day protocols and amend the Laws of the Game to discourage high contact

- Steve Hocking

The injury recurrence rate remains low at five per cent and has been relatively stable over the past five years.

AFL Executive General Manager Steve Hocking said concussion incidence (whether a match was missed or not) remains relatively stable compared to previous years, with 6.75 per 1000 player hours in 2020 compared to 6.54 in 2019.

"Player health and safety at all levels of Australian Football remains paramount," Mr Hocking said.

"Over recent years we have continued to take action to strengthen match-day protocols and amend the Laws of the Game to discourage high contact. Since 2019, we have used the technology that is embedded in the ARC to provide another opportunity to identify potential concussive incidents that would not have otherwise been detected.

"This year, we further strengthened the return to play aspects of the Concussion Management Guidelines for the AFL and AFLW competitions which sees players sidelined for a minimum 12 days if they suffer a concussion, an increase from six days in 2020. This reflects the ongoing conservative approach in managing concussions at the elite level which then feeds into community football.



"The results of the 2020 Injury Report have a direct impact on the AFL's investment into injury research across all levels of the game, from the AFL competition right through to the grassroots level.

"Our aim is to continue to provide players with an environment that is as safe as possible in a contact sport and this data allows us to support ongoing research into injury prevention and management."

The 2020 AFL Injury Report results were presented to the AFL Doctors and Physiotherapists Associations, along with all Clubs earlier this week.

Mr. Hocking thanked the AFL doctors, physiotherapists and the clubs for their continued support and involvement in providing data for the 2020 AFL Injury Report.

A full copy of the report is available via email on a request basis.

Please note: Due to the reduced length of the 2020 Toyota AFL Premiership Season length and compromised state league in some states during the COVID-19 pandemic, scaled incidence data was deemed to be the only relevant comparator to previous seasons. As a result, all injury prevalence data has been omitted from the 2020 AFL Injury Report. All incidence data contained in the 2020 AFL Injury Report reflects the average number of injuries per club scaled to a list size of 40 players over a season of 22 matches. No adjustments were made for reduced game time.