The Role of Podiatry in the Australian Football League

One of the most popular sports in Australia is Australian Rules Football (AFL). To those outside Australia an not aware of this sport it could be considered someone odd as they have seen no sport like it. However they are often in awe of what tremendous athletes that those who play the game at the professional elite level are. It is a fully professional men’s competition of Australian rules football and has been played for over a century. It started in the state of Victoria, but now other states have teams in what is now considered a national competition. The 18 professional clubs that compete in the AFL invest heavily in the sports sciences and sports medicine to get the best out of the players in each team. The sports medicine team with each club has a podiatrists involved to help look after the foot injury and footwear needs of the player. The role of Podiatrists in the AFL in Australia is considered a model of how podiatrists should be involved in professional teams around the world.

For one of the episodes of the podiatry related livestream, PodChatLive the hosts chatted with five of the podiatrists associated with AFL teams to talks about the world leading model for Podiatry within an elite sports league and the emerging role of the newly formed, AFL Podiatry Association. The Podiatrists that were on this episode were Ben Holland from the North Melbourne Kangaroos, Emma Poynton from the Western Bulldogs, Nicki Quigley from the Hawthorn Hawks, Todd Brown from the Geelong Cats and Tom May from the Adelaide Crows. They discussed the demands of AFL and how that affects the players and what the common injuries seen. There was a good discussion of the footwear worn and the challenges that brings. There was also a discussion of the preseason screening process that is typically adopted within the 44-man squads. The episode was broadcast live on Facebook, but is also now available on YouTube.