Preventing injury in junior cricket fast bowlers

December 4, 2017

Injury risk: Researchers seek to plug gap in understanding risk to junior fast bowlers

New research from Murdoch University aims to reduce non-contact injury in teenage cricket pace bowlers.

Researchers from the School of Psychology and Exercise Science conducted the first systematic review of international studies into non-contact injury risk factors among this group.

Mr Mitchell Forrest, Dr Brendan Scott and Dr Alasdair Dempsey identified a number of risks associated with bowling action, bowling frequency and back/trunk stress that could be modified with an exercise-based prevention program.

Mr Forrest said that rates of injury in adult pace bowlers were as high as those among players in contact sports such as Australian football and rugby union. However, there had been no comprehensive review of research into non-contact injury risk in junior pace bowlers.

“This represents an important gap in knowledge because adolescent cricketers are more prone than adult cricketers to back/trunk injuries, overuse injuries and growth-related conditions that occur in the legs, such as Osgood-Schlatter disease and Sever’s disease.”

The researchers identified 16 studies which comprised 687 participants (aged 12 to 19 years) who played school, club, district, state and national level cricket. Most were male (96 per cent) and played cricket in Australia (75 per cent), with the remainder from South Africa and England/Wales.

The research found risk factors that could potentially be modified included: how you moved your torso and pelvis during the delivery, specifically lateral trunk flexion, the endurance of your muscles in your trunk and the ability to control the movement of your legs and pelvis.

Mr Forrest said the findings would help guide future injury prevention strategies.

“Implementing tailored exercise programs to strengthen these young players will help secure the future of fast bowling in Australia,” he said.

“It will also make sure we continue to produce the elite players that Aussies love to watch play cricket at national and international level.”

The research which was conducted in collaboration with Dr Jeffrey Hebert (University of New Brunswick) and Mr Stefano Brini (University of Turku) can be read here.

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