Objective: To identify risk factors for injury to cricket fast bowlers using field-based tests.
Design: Prospective cohort study.
Setting: High performance Australian cricket.
Participants: Ninety-one male adolescent and adult fast bowlers (aged 12 - 33 years).
Assessment of risk factors: A field-based pre-participation screening, consisting of musculoskeletal, fitness and anthropometric assessments and analysis of bowling technique was undertaken. Bowlers were prospectively monitored over the 2003-04 season and bowling workload and injuries were recorded. Logistic regression was used to identify injury risk factors.
Main outcome measurement: Repetitive microtrauma injury to the trunk, back or lower limb, associated with fast bowling.
Results: Two variables were identified as independent predictors of injury in the multivariate logistic regression analysis. Bowlers with hip internal rotation of ≤30° on the leg ipsilateral to the bowling arm were at a significantly reduced risk of injury (OR = 0.20, 95% CI 0.06 to 0.73) compared with bowlers with >40° of rotation. Bowlers with an ankle dorsiflexion lunge of 12.1 - 14.0cm on the leg contralateral to the bowling arm were at a significantly increased risk (OR = 4.03, 95% CI 1.07 to 15.21), as compared with bowlers with a lunge of >14cm. Bowlers with a lunge of ≤12cm were also at an increased risk, but not significantly so (OR = 1.38, 95% CI 0.40 to 4.84).
Conclusions: Biomechanical research is needed to investigate how these two intrinsic risk factors increase injury risk, so that appropriate interventions can be developed.