Cricket: Nature and incidence of fast-bowling injuries at an elite, junior level and associated risk factors
Objective. To compile an injury profile of 46 fast bowlers aged 11 - 18 years, and to identify the associated risk factors for injury during one academy cricket season. Methods. The fast bowlers selected were tested and observed for one academy cricket season (March - November). Subjects were grouped into injury classifications (uninjured=S1; injured but able to play=S2; injured and unable to play=S3). Anthropometrical and postural data for the subjects were collected preseason (T1). Physical fitness screenings were conducted and the relationship between fitness and occurrence of injuries was assessed. Additional factors such as bowling techniques and bowling workload were assessed. A regression analysis was conducted to analyse the relationship between bowling workload and weeks incapacitated. Results. Fifteen per cent of the subjects remained injury free for the duration of the season. The incidence of serious injury (S3) showed a statistical and moderate, practical significant increase (V=0.23, df≥2) throughout the data collection period (4% at T1 - 30% at T3 (post-season)). The most common injuries were to the knee (41%) and lower back (37%), occurring from mid-season (T2) to T3. The nature of the injuries was predominantly strains (39%) and ‘other' (39%), with the highest reported incidence during the period T1 - T3. Sprains followed, with an overall incidence of 14%. Subjects were incapacitated approximately 1 out of every 7 weeks of play. The S1 and S2 bowlers performed consistently better than the S3 bowlers in all the fitness variables tested. Bowling workload presented a statistically significant (p<0.0005) increased risk of injury. A strong, significant positive relationship (R²=0.62, p<0.0005) was found between the number of weeks incapacitated and bowling workload. Conclusion. The results indicated that inadequate fitness, high bowling workload and bowling technique all have a multifactorial role in predisposing a bowler to increased risk of injury. These variables did not act alone, but have all contributed to recurring injuries.
South African Journal of Sports Medicine Vol. 20 (4) 2008: pp. 115-118