Anterior cruciate ligament tears are one of the worst injuries sportspeople can suffer and the AFLW is becoming plagued, with three stars suffering ACL injuries last week alone.
The most notable of which, Collingwood star Ash Brazill, was confirmed to have torn her ACL and damaged her medial collateral ligament (MCL, in the middle of the knee) and her lateral meniscus.
The 30-year-old suffered the horrible injury in an incident with Melbourne's Chantel Emonson on the weekend.
"The whole club is devastated for ‘Braz’ who will sit aside for not one but two campaigns this year," Collingwood general manager of women’s sport Jane Woodlands-Thompson said.
"With 'Braz' being in the prime of her career, with Australian honours across both of her codes, the news is extremely disappointing.
"Our support is also behind Ruby who had shown such resilience in making a return from an earlier (knee) injury."
Although cross-code competition star Brazill (she's also a star netballer) has drawn the most coverage, teammate Georgia Gourlay also tore her ACL last week and St Kilda young gun Tarni White also damaged her ACL this weekend.
Her return date is still unknown.
The spate of ACL tears brings this season up to 12, already three more than were suffered over the course of last season.
The injuries have partly made room for a rapid increase in squad numbers, allowing more opportunities for young females. However the toll this takes on still semi-professional athlete's livelihoods cannot be ignored.
As AFLW becomes an increasingly professional environment and the toll on the athlete's bodies increases, so must the conversation around strategies to reduce the amount of horrific knee injuries occurring in the game.
Last season, the AFLW managed to decrease concussion and ACL injuries across the league, bringing the figures down to 5.1 ACL injuries suffered per 1000 player hours, which the AFL said was consistent with female athlete ACL data worldwide.
But this season is already exceeding that marker.
"The health and safety of our players is a major priority for the AFL and we will continue to research ways of reducing injury rates and implement the best practice for injury reduction, management and recovery," AFL head of women's football Nicole Livingstone said last year.
"While it is encouraging to see a drop in both rate of concussions and ACL injuries, they still remain our priority focus regarding prevention.
"As a contact sport, injuries are unfortunately part of Australian Football. Our aim is to continue to provide players with a safe environment and support ongoing research into injury prevention in order to benefit the game across all levels."
ACL injuries in the AFLW this season
- Chelsea Randall (Adelaide), pre-season
- Shae Sloane (Melbourne), pre-season
- Katherine Smith (Melbourne), pre-season
- Aine Tighe (Fremantle), practice match
- Steph Cain (Fremantle), round one
- Nadia von Bertouch (St Kilda), round one
- Ashton Hill (West Coast), round one
- Ainslie Kemp (Melbourne), round two
- Maddy Guerin (Melbourne), round three
- Ash Brazill (Collingwood), round four
- Georgia Gourlay (Collingwood), round four
- Tarni White (St Kilda), round four