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We reviewed 3600 muscle strains occurring over 23 years of Australian Rules Football from a prospectively filled database of all player match exposures. We found that the risk of a recurring muscle strain injury remains elevated over three months after return to play, with recurrence risks of 9% (hamstring), 5% (quadriceps), 2% (calf) and 6% (groin) in the first match back. Our findings also showed again that the greatest risk factor of a muscle strain was a history of having had the muscle strain in the past 8 weeks. These findings stress the importance of careful player management in the weeks after an apparent successful return to play and encourage slightly more conservative thinking in return to play decision making.
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This page is a summary of: Fifteen-week window for recurrent muscle strains in football: a prospective cohort of 3600 muscle strains over 23 years in professional Australian rules football, British Journal of Sports Medicine, February 2020, BMJ, DOI: 10.1136/bjsports-2019-100755.
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