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There's a hidden 'club' in women's football. And it's one nobody wants to join.
The ACL club.
One of the main ligaments responsible for stabilising your knee, anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) injuries are something of an epidemic in women's football.
Statistics show women are two to 10 times more likely to experience an ACL injury than men — which is... huge.
And the Matildas' defender Ellie Carpenter is part of this statistic.
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For most, the injury can be career-ending. And the chance of re-injury is significant.
However, following eight months of rehabilitation, 22-year-old Carpenter said tearing her ACL back in 2022 actually benefited her performance.
In fact, speaking with Forbes, Carpenter said her ACL injury may have been "a blessing in disguise".
"Honestly, I think it was the best thing that's happened to me. I really needed this break. I was very fatigued, I've played a lot — a lot — of football in the last year and a half. I was just on the verge of burnt out really."
"The injury came and obviously it was disappointing, but at the same time, it was the perfect time for me to reset, get stronger, have a rest, have an off-season that I never really have had."