'Clubs will struggle to afford menstrual cycle injury support'

Many Scottish clubs will not be able to afford to respond to new research showing women footballers are more susceptible to injuries at certain times during their menstrual cycle, former Scotland midfielder Leanne Crichton has warned.

A study at an unnamed English top-flight club showed players were six times more likely to pick up a muscle injury in the days leading up to their period.

Crichton, a coach with Motherwell in the SWPL, says it proves "something we have been aware of as players for some time".

She told BBC Radio Scotland's Good Morning Scotland that information on menstrual cycles was gathered during her time with the national squad and Scottish champions Glasgow City.

But she added: "If you are at a part-time club, how do you collate this information?

"At Motherwell, we would love to have somebody in a full-time role to monitor players daily so we know what we are dealing with. But you need facilities, resources, medical staff that can oversee this and a lot of clubs do not have that."

Nevertheless, Crichton has welcomed the three-year study carried out by researchers from University College London, the University of Bath and St Mary's University in the first study of its kind.

She revealed that the national team sport scientist and medical team took into account menstrual cycle information completed by players in an online app.

"If you felt you were unable to train or under heavy fatigue, there was an option there to raise that awareness with your coaches," she said.

"You probably felt, as a player, you had to train because you couldn't really back it up with research saying definitely I could be at more risk of injury.

"The reality is the research is there to back-up the theory that we've all been pursuing for some time."