Injury Spike Fears When AFL Returns

Melbourne AFL captain Max Gawn fears injury rates could increase when the season resumes.

A mini-preseason of three or four weeks has been mooted leading into the restart, with details to be confirmed by the AFL this week.

Players could be back in full contact training within days.

Gawn said Melbourne fitness boss Darren Burgess had based some of the club's coronavirus shutdown training program around a case study from the United States, with injury prevention high on the Demons' list of priorities.



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Settling on league-wide training protocols will be a crucial step as the AFL closes in on a plan to restart the 2020 season, with an announcement potentially as early as Tuesday.

"Compared to off-season programs in the past we have added a lot of dynamic movement, single-leg hops, bounding and lots and lots of skills," Gawn told RSN radio.

"Burgo is aware of it and he was onto it pretty early.

"The only case study we have in the whole world of something like this happening is probably the NFL strike, where they went away from their club staff and they all got their own PTs (personal trainers) and did their own thing.

"ACL and Achilles injuries went up 25 percent when they came back.

"That's the only case study we have and Burgo has based a lot of his program on that."

Gawn, 28, endured serious knee injuries early in his career but tipped four weeks would be enough time to top-up his fitness base and prepare for a return to competitive matches.

Max Gawn leads the Demons onto the field during the round 1 AFL match against the West Coast Eagles at Optus Stadium on March 22, 2020 in Perth. Image: Getty.

"If you haven't been doing those movements I do agree that a four-week pre-season is very small and injuries will go up," Gawn said.

"Hopefully everyone has been aware that they need to keep those movements up.

"I'm pretty glad we've got one of the best in the business (Burgess) controlling our program."

Gawn expects the AFL to clear players to resume full training duties on Monday but said the green light must be given to all clubs at the same time to ensure fairness across the competition.