Previous research using Global Positioning Systems (GPS) to track Australian football (AF) games has used a 1 Hz sampling rate and limited variables to describe game demands. The aim of this study was to compare midfielders and forwards/backs from one elite Australian football club via GPS tracking of games. Game files (n=100) were collected from 19 players (14 midfielders, 5 forwards/backs) and the total distance covered at various speed and acceleration/deceleration zones was analysed. Player positions were statistically compared by one-way ANOVA. Midfielders covered a greater total distance and distance at running speeds between 4-7 m.s. (p<0.05), whereas forwards/backs produced slightly greater maximum running speeds, greater distance sprinting at speeds over 7 m.s, and greater distance peforming high accelerations (p>0.05). The movement demands for midfielders tended towards moderate to fast running speeds whereas forwards/backs displayed a greater proportion of their distance covered at high speed and acceleration/deceleration. It is suggested from the GPS variable that used conditioning should be somewhat indidvidualised to match the specific demands of the playing positions.
Background: Tendon pathology on imaging has been associated with an increased risk of developing symptoms. This evidence is based on classifying the tendon as normal or pathological. It is unclear whether the extent of tendon pathology is associated with the development or severity of symptoms. Objectives: To investigate whether the presence and extent of tendon pathology on ultrasound tissue characterisation (UTC), or a previous history of symptoms, were associated with the development of symptoms over a football season. Methods: 179 male Australian football players underwent UTC imaging of their Achilles and/or patellar tendon at the start of the pre-season. Players completed monthly OSTRC overuse questionnaires to quantify the presence and severity of Achilles and/or patellar tendon symptoms. Risk factor analysis was performed to identify associations between imaging and the development of symptoms. Results: A pathological Achilles tendon increased the risk of developing symptoms (RR = 3.2, 95%CI 1.7–5.9). Conversely, a pathological patellar tendon was not significantly associated with the development of symptoms (RR = 1.8, 95%CI 0.9–3.7). Quantification of tendon structure using UTC did not enhance the ability to identify athletes who developed symptoms. Previous history of symptoms was the strongest predictor for the development of symptoms (Achilles RR = 3.0 95%CI 1.8–4.8; patellar RR = 3.7 95%CI 2.2–6.1). Conclusion: Tendon pathology was associated with the development of self-reported symptoms; however previous history of symptoms was a stronger risk factor. The extent of disorganisation quantified by UTC should not be used as a marker for the presence or severity of current and future symptoms.