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This paper advances our understanding of factors influencing both injuries and game patterns in Australian football. It extends the authors' previous studies, in which they found a dramatic increase in the speed of the game over the last 40 years, to show that speed is influenced by ground hardness and time of the quarter, which in turn influences the number of collisions. Further research is required to confirm a direct link between ground hardness and general injury rates. It is of some reassurance that the number of serious collisions has decreased (although the number of mild and moderate collisions has increased), a testament to improved rules and administration. It should be noted that about half the injuries recorded in the AFL are not caused by contact. Improved prevention and injury management strategies for the non-contact injuries have led to a reduction in total AFL injury incidence in the last three seasons, which is a fortunate counter balance if there is increasing speed and more mild to moderate collisions.
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