‘It’s scary’ – Arsenal’s Jodie Taylor highlights link between periods and ACL injuries in Eurosport panel debate


Arsenal striker Jodie Taylor says the link between menstrual cycles and anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) injuries in women’s football is “scary” and must be addressed, speaking in a special Eurosport period panel debate.

The 40-minute show features two prominent athletes in European Indoor long jump champion Jazmin Sawyers and 51-time England international Taylor, as well as women’s health and performance expert Dr Emma Ross.

The in-depth discussion hosted by Orla Chennaoui will be aired on Sunday morning at 09:00 UK time as part of Menstrual Hygiene Day.

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One of the issues raised by the panel was the link between periods and injury, particularly the prevalence of ACL injuries in female athletes.

“There’s a lot more ACL injuries in football now than there ever has been, and it’s just getting worse and worse,” Taylor said.

“I think it’s so complex. I do think menstrual cycles are a huge part of it. I think it’s loads, load management, it’s the amount of games that we’re playing, and it all ties together. Hopefully, the more research that comes out will help. Because it is an issue. It is scary.

“You know, I think you’ve seen it… all your team-mates around you dropping with their ACLs. It’s not a great thing to see. But it’s something that really needs to be addressed.

“That’s from FIFA, from a FIFA level of competition scheduling – the number of games that we’re playing, lack of rest, lack of recovery, understanding of where you’re at in the cycle, your period, being able to take the break when you need it.

Jodie Taylor of Arsenal during the Arsenal Women’s training session at London Colney

Image credit: Getty Images

“It’s hard, the demands placed on footballers now is huge when we’re not used to it. More research needs to be done.”

Dr Ross is an expert in women’s health and co-authored the Sunday Times bestseller ‘The Female Body Bible’.

She said: “When people are injured, they’re desperate for it to be something. And it’s never one thing, right?

“Especially with a non-contact injury like an ACL, it’s usually a perfect storm of a few factors colliding in one moment. Not physically, but metaphorically.

“One of the things that I worry about is that if we hang ACL injury on the menstrual cycle, we ignore all of the other really modifiable risk factors that we can change – like putting women in boots that are designed for women’s feet, not giving them the poorer playing surfaces, managing load, not having a whole season and then a summer of competition and then just running through and not considering the recovery of the players, not conditioning them to move well enough.

“All of those things are risk factors. And yes, the menstrual cycle is another thing that women can add to their list of things that might affect their injury risk.

“Both Jazz and Jodie have spoken about their own experience of their bodies. You know, niggles in the back, flared up Achilles. And that’s what’s so important here. It’s ‘what is your experience’?

“We did some work across the Women’s Super League last year, and there were players who are really afraid of being injured if a game happens to fall on a certain day of their cycle, not because it’s what they feel, it’s because of what they’ve heard.

“And funnily enough fear of injury is a risk of injury itself. We mustn’t put menstrual cycle to the top because we want something to blame.

“But we have to integrate it into this whole complex picture of injury and for everyone to understand their own experience of their body at certain times of the cycle.”

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