Why are so many female footballers suffering ACL injuries?

Star players from several nations are out

“Two days later it was confirmed – another of the world’s best female players had suffered an anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) injury, regarded as one of the worst injuries to have as a footballer.”

Why have more than 25 top women’s footballers torn their ACLs in the last 12 months? Upward of 25 footballers in top women’s competitions around the world have torn their ACLs in the last 12 months. Star players from several nations are out.


Alexia Putellas

Alexia Putellas who missed last summer’s UEFA Women’s Euro finals, going down with an ACL in her left knee just a day before the tournament started. “It was really hard to take. I wasn’t really aware I wouldn’t be able to play until after my surgery. Many days went by where by body didn’t feel any different, until ten days after when I started to feel sad about the Euro.” 

Leah Williamson

Williamson released a statement on social media saying: “Until I have the words to express my feelings properly, I will struggle to verbalise them. The noise around the situation is quite loud and I need some quiet to let it all sink in.

Unfortunately the World Cup and Champions League dream is over for me and everyone will think that’s the main focus, but it’s the day to day of what I’m about to go through that is the most draining of my thoughts.”

Vivianne Miedema

“I’m going to miss the World Cup, which is hard,” she added. “But I hope to be back ready for the start of next season. I need to be realistic. Recovery is going really well. It’s slow but little steps.”

Beth Mead

“We can confirm that Beth Mead suffered a ruptured anterior cruciate ligament in our match against Manchester United at Emirates Stadium on Saturday,” an Arsenal statement read.

Marie-Antoinette Katoto

Katoto exited France’s second group-stage match of the Euros in the 15th minute after clutching her knee. The 23-year-old emerged for the second half on crutches on the sidelines. “Words are difficult, disappointment and a certain form of rage run through me today. This knee injury is not easy to take, but you have to raise your head. I will take care of myself and, with the help of the doctors, recover as quickly as possible”, Katoto posted in a series of tweets in French.

Ellie Carpenter

Carpenter, who started in her first European final against Barcelona on Sunday, went down in the 12th minute of the match after pushing awkwardly off the grass to collect a long pass, immediately grabbing at the inside of her left knee.

Speaking to Forbes, Carpenter said her ACL injury was an opportunity to take a break from football altogether, having had few opportunities to rest since bursting onto the scene as a 15-year-old with the Matildas.

“Honestly, I think it was the best thing that’s happened to me. I really needed this break. I was really fatigued; I’ve played a lot — a lot — of football in the last year-and-a-half. I was just on the verge of burnt-out, really”, she told Forbes.

Simone Magill

Simone Magill of Northern Ireland who suffered the injury during the tournament. Magill’s tournament was ended after just 79 for her first game against Norway. “I immediately knew I had done something really, really bad. Why has this had to happen to me? I was just so angry and upset, as opposed to being in pain in that moment.”

Holly McNamara

Kyah Simon