Cricket injuries are on the increase, as young fast bowlers take the brunt of trauma
As England’s professional cricketers leave the British Winter for sunnier climes to tour the Southern hemisphere, a new report sheds light on the gentile sport of cricket. But rather than an enjoyable relaxed sport serious injury in cricket is on the rise.
According to new data from the US National Library of Medicine and the National Institute of Health 41.3% of all cricket injuries are sustained during bowling with wicket keeping second with 28.6% of all injuries.
Cricket is a popular global sport that requires a combination of physical fitness, skill, and strategy. Although a noncontact sport, overuse and impact injuries are common since players engage in a wide range of physical activities, including running, throwing, batting, bowling, catching, and diving.
While the incidence of injuries is about the same, the prevalence of injuries has increased due to game format changes, increasing number of matches played, and decreased rest between matches. Bowling (41.3%), fielding, and wicket keeping (28.6%) account for most injuries.
Acute injuries are most common (64%-76%), followed by acute-on-chronic (16%-22.8%) and chronic ones (8%-22%). The most common modern-day cricket injury is hamstring strain, and the most severe is lumbar stress fracture in young fast bowlers.
Although cricket is a non-contact sport, overuse and impact injuries are common since players engage in a wide range of physical activities, including running, throwing, batting, bowling, catching, jumping, and diving.
Projectile injuries occur despite protection, since the 5.5 oz hard ball is bowled at the batsman at speeds of up to 160 km/h and can bounce off the pitch in an erratic fashion or swing through the air.
Younger players (less than 24 years old) sustain more overuse and bowling injuries than older players. Lower limb injuries form nearly 49.8% of injuries, followed by back injuries (22.8%), upper limb injuries (23.3%), and neck injuries (4.1%).
Hamstring and quadriceps strains formed the majority of lower limb injuries sustained primarily during bowling and fielding. Injuries to fingers primarily during batting and fielding predominate upper limb injuries (35.4%), and shoulder injuries (21.7%) occurred during throwing and bowling. Players in the West Indies sustained 40% of injuries during test matches, 32% during 1-day matches, and 28% outside of match play.
The definition of a significant or match time-loss cricket injury is one that either prevents a player from being fully available for selection in a major match, or during a major match, causes a player to be unable to bat, bowl, or keep wicket when required by either the rules or the team’s captain.
These injuries have been further differentiated based on the mode of onset: sudden-onset non-contact injuries (e.g., anterior cruciate ligament [ACL] tear during knee twisting while fielding, ankle sprain during bowling run-up, rectus tear during sudden evasive action during batting), impact/traumatic injury (e.g. mallet finger during catching, fractured rib due to player collision during fielding), gradual onset associated with bowling/running/throwing/batting practice/weight-training (e.g. gradual onset low back pain in fast bowlers secondary to lumbar pars stress fracture), insidious (gradual and no identifiable mode of onset) (eg, anterior knee pain secondary to patella-femoral chondral degeneration in bowlers, posterosuperior shoulder pain during overhead throwing secondary to superior labral anteroposterior [SLAP] lesions), and medical illnesses (e.g. flu, gastroenteritis). These types of injuries have been included in the definition of cricket injuries since 2016 as these had the potential to affect cricket training or playing.
Cricket is a global sport traditionally popular in the commonwealth nations but now being played in 105 member countries of the International Cricket Council. Cricket is the world’s second-most popular spectator sport after football and has captivated people of every age, sex, background, and ability for more than 400 years. A bat-and-ball game with complex rules, cricket involves physical fitness, skill, and strategy.
Data was collected from peer-reviewed articles (obtained via PubMed search) published from November 2016 to 2018 that involved the medical, biomechanical, and epidemiological aspects of cricket injuries. Significant or match time-loss injuries were defined as those that either prevent a player from being fully available for selection in a major match, or during a major match, cause a player to be unable to bat, bowl, or keep wicket when required by either the rules or the team’s captain. This review describes the various region-wise injuries sustained in cricket along with their epidemiology, biomechanics, treatment, and prevention.
Cricket was one of the first sports to publish recommended methods for injury surveillance in 2005 from England, South Africa, Australia, the West Indies, and India.
New formats are blamed for the increase in severe injury: There are now 3 formats of cricket at the professional level based on the duration of the game: T20, 1-day, and test matches. T20 are intense, short-duration matches involving 20 overs (of 6 balls each) bowled by each team. One-day matches have each team bowling 50 overs each, whereas test matches last 5 days and have each team batting twice, with approximately 90 overs being bowled in a day.
The full study can be found here https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5958448/