Last season, I watched four of my footballing heroes collapse in tears and career-threatening terror as they ruptured anterior cruciate ligaments out on the pitch. 

My team, Arsenal Women, challenged for titles and even won a cup despite this epidemic; yet their awesome spirit was tested by the perpetual, unexplained threat of an ACL nightmare. 

ACLs are and injury to the ligament that joins your thigh bone to the front of your shin. Women are up to six times more likely to suffer ACL problems with an incredible 88% of women's football injuries being non-contact (British Orthopaedic Association). 

Whilst physiology and hormonal differences play their part, there remains gender imbalance in insight and research investment. One of the reasons behind this injury is that women’s football boots are found to be just smaller versions of men’s, which means there isn’t one specifically designed for women.  

A representative at Nike says, in relation to their new football boots, the ‘Phantom Luna Boot’, “because her foot, on average, is smaller than that of her male counterpart, she needs bigger touch zones for this control and accuracy,” (feelgoodwoo). 

Change is on the horizon but increasing demands from broadcasters, advertisers and fans to build on England’s phenomenal Euro22 success means our precious few elite professional girls play every more games. Time is pressing harder than a Lioness’s midfield to ensure we don’t risk damage to the next generation as well.