Being hamstrung is something the Westfield Matildas are confident they will not have to deal with at the Rio Games thanks to the use of a new device called the Nordbord.
A hamstring testing device designed to prevent hamstring problems in athletes, the Nordbord is now available commercially after many years of use in research on hamstring injuries and prevention.
The Westfield Matildas have also introduced this testing to monitor and improve strength as a part of FFA’s anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) prevention strategy.
ACL ruptures are one of the most significant and prevalent injuries in women’s football and as such, the researchers from Australian Catholic University (ACU) have teamed up with Football Federation Australia (FFA) with assistance from the AIS High Performance Sports Research Fund to help the Westfield Matildas in the team’s preparations for the Rio Games.
Benefits the Westfield Matildas aim to gain from the use of the Nordbord include establishing baseline data on hamstring strength and then the deficits in the strength of hamstrings, exercising the hamstrings, assessing interventions to correct these deficits, monitoring response to training and games, and assessing recovery following specific training stressors.
In addition to these practical applications, world first research is being undertaken by the Nordbord developers into specific issues around hamstring function in female footballers.
The partnership with the Matildas and Nordbord is a groundbreaking step in understanding how injury rates and playing performance can be improved in the current and the next generation of Australian female footballers.
The Norbord is also currently being used among clubs in the AFL, English Premier League and the National Basketball Association (NBA) in the United States.