Accelerometer and GPS-Derived Running Loads and Injury Risk in Elite Australian Footballers

Colby, M.J., Dawson, B., Heasman, J., Rogalski, B., Gabbett, T.J.

Colby, MJ, Dawson, B, Heasman, J, Rogalski, B, and Gabbett, TJ.
Accelerometer and GPS-derived running loads and injury risk in
elite Australian footballers. J Strength Cond Res 28(8): 2244–
2252, 2014—The purpose of this study was to investigate the
relationship between overall physical workload (global positioning
systems [GPS]/accelerometer) measures and injury risk in elite
Australian football players (n = 46) during a season. Workload

data and (intrinsic) injury incidence were monitored across pre-
season and in-season (18 matches) phases. Multiple regression

was used to compare cumulative (1-, 2-, 3-, and 4-weekly loads)

and absolute change (from previous-to-current week) in work-
loads between injured and uninjured players for all GPS/

accelerometer-derived variables: total distance, V1 distance (total

distance above individual’s aerobic threshold speed), sprint dis-
tance, force load, velocity load, and relative velocity change.

Odds ratios (ORs) were calculated to determine the relative injury
risk. Cumulative loads showed the strongest relationship with
greater intrinsic injury risk. During preseason, 3-weekly distance
(OR = 5.489, p = 0.008) and 3-weekly sprint distance (OR =
3.667, p = 0.074) were most indicative of greater injury risk.
During in-season, 3-weekly force load (OR = 2.530, p =
0.031) and 4-weekly relative velocity change (OR = 2.244, p =
0.035) were associated with greater injury risk. No differences in
injury risk between years of Australian Football League system
experience and GPS/accelerometer data were seen. From an

injury risk (prevention) perspective, these findings support con-
sideration of several GPS/accelerometer running load variables

in Australian football players. In particular, cumulative weekly
loads should be closely monitored, with 3-weekly loads most
indicative of a greater injury risk across both seasonal phases.

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