Arsenal have suffered another blow, as Laura Wienroither has become the fourth player on the squad to suffer an ACL tear in the last six months, the club announced Thursday.
She suffered the injury during Monday’s Champions League semifinal loss. The 24-year-old Austria national team player joins Leah Williamson, Beth Mead and Vivianne Miedema on the Gunners’ roster of ACL injuries this season.
“I’m going to miss every single second of not being on the pitch with this special team,” Wienroither said in an Instagram post. “I’m so proud to be a part of this group and to share experiences with these girls — on and off the pitch.
“I’ll fight like hell to return as soon as I’m ready to get back to following my dream in red and white. This team is really special… I think we can all feel it. Until that time, I’m Arsenal and Austria’s biggest fan.”
Miedema, who tore her ACL in December, posted in support of her teammates: “At least we will all be in the gym together.”
But she also added: “ACL group is full now. Please no more.”
View this post on Instagram A post shared by Vivianne Miedema (@viviannemiedema)
A post shared by Vivianne Miedema (@viviannemiedema)
A number of the game’s biggest stars have suffered ACL injuries in recent months, leading to concern over what many regard as an injury crisis in women’s soccer. Mead has called for more research into injuries in the women’s game, and Portland Thorns forward Janine Beckie – who is also sidelined with an ACL tear – echoed those sentiments and called for more resources for women’s teams.
Earlier this season, women’s health specialist Dr. Emma Ross told Sky Sports that women athletes “are up to six times more likely to have a non-contact ACL injury than their male counterparts.”
She added that just 6% of studies in sports and exercise science are done solely on women, which translates into a lack of research and education on women’s injuries.
While some researchers attribute the injury crisis to the physiological affects of the menstrual cycle, including joints becoming less stable during the cycle, there is not enough evidence to draw a link between the menstrual cycle and injuries, Ross said.
“So we do have some information about loose joints,” she said, “but what we don’t have is the end step of whether that really does increase the risk for injury in female athletes.”
Dr. Katrine Okholm Kryger pointed to soccer cleats being geared toward men’s feet as an injury risk factor, as men’s and women’s feet differ in shape and volume. Many cleat manufacturers have begun to develop a women’s specific cleat, which should be available for this summer’s World Cup.
Aresenal is in the midst of its own internal review after its spate of ACL tears, manager Jonas Eidevall said following Wienroither’s injury. Eidevall also called for external cooperation between clubs, national teams and their governing bodies.
“We need to look at the complete picture and see which factors we can control,” he said. “We need to look at that internally to see what we can do better in the future. Some parts are internal and things we can control, then there are things we need external cooperation with. For example, the playing schedule or the cooperation between clubs and national teams or how and when competitions are played and how the international match calendar is done.
“There are bits that I think clubs can solve internally but there are a lot of things that require the whole world of football to cooperate, we need to do both.”