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Beth Mead will head a Fifa task force seeking to tackle the plague of knee injuries affecting women’s football, as England’s Georgia Stanway admitted players risk “burning out” unless the schedule is rectified.
Mead is one of many top players to have torn his ACL in recent years, with Chelsea forwards Sam Kerr and Mia Fishel suffering the same injury in the past two months.
Research suggests fatigue and load are one of several risk factors and the Arsenal striker is working with FIFA alongside team-mate and partner Vivianne Miedema, who ruptured her ACL in 2022, three weeks after of Mead.
“There’s a lot going on behind the scenes, which is fantastic,” Mead said.
“Viv and I will be involved in things with FIFA and talking a bit more to people who have had their ACL done and how they feel about it.”
Beth Mead suffered a nearly year-long layoff after tearing her ACL in November 2022.
Vivianne Miedema suffered the same injury just weeks after Mead in 2022.
Sam Kerr to miss Paris Summer Olympics due to torn ACL
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She continued: ‘We made a documentary to bring it to light a little better. Because of that, we’ve connected with a few more (people), so we’re hoping to be able to put out a little more data and a little more specific information.
“If you’ve seen the documentary, we sit down with people who specialize in certain fields and we can talk for hours about certain things, but there’s no definitive answer on how to stop it and I think that’s the frustrating part. We feel the responsibility. There are many of us who have the power to try to help, promote and assist with research.
“I think stress and the mental component and programming are two very, very important factors that affect this injury, from what we’ve done.”
The Lionesses failed to qualify for the Olympics on behalf of Team GB, but still face international camps in June and July due to qualification for Euro 2025.
With some clubs also taking part in the Champions League qualifiers in early September, many players will miss a full summer of rest.
Several members of the England squad have played in three consecutive tournaments (the 2021 Olympics, Euro 2022 and last summer’s World Cup), while others played in youth tournaments before that.
Stanway admitted England players are at risk of burnout.
“When we didn’t qualify for the Olympics we thought it was the perfect opportunity to have the summer off and maybe travel a little further afield,” Stanway said.
Mead has returned to England following his injury and will now lead a FIFA task force.
“We are aware that it is not that simple, but the best we can do is work with countries and clubs to find the best solution.
“Hopefully the best solution is to give ourselves a good rest time, but also the most important thing is that we want to qualify for Euro 2025; we will do anything to be in the best possible position to go to that tournament.”
“It’s potentially exhausting, but football is our life. Everything we do is to be successful on the field.”