Objective: Despite the popularity of cricket at the junior community level, few studies have described injuries for this level of play. This study describes the epidemiology of cricket injuries in junior club cricket across three playing seasons to identify priorities for prevention.
Design: Prospective on-field injury data collection during match observation of acute injuries. Pre and post observational evaluation of mandatory helmet wearing.
Setting: The Sutherland Shire Junior Cricket Association, New South Wales, Australia during the 2002–03, 2003–04 and 2004–05 playing seasons.
Participants: All junior teams (Under 8 (U8)–U16).
Intervention: Compulsory headgear introduced for all batters before the 2004–05 season.
Main outcome measures: Frequency of injury according to age level, grade of play and playing position, and injury rates per 100 registered players.
Results: 155 injuries were reported. No U8 player sustained an injury, and injury frequency increased with age. Traditional cricket was associated with more injuries than modified cricket. At each age level, the most skilled players had the lowest frequency of injury. Overall, batting accounted for 49% of all injuries and 29% occurred when fielding; contact with a moving ball was responsible for 55% of injuries. The most commonly injured body region was the face (20%), followed by the hand (14%). In batters, the frequency of head/neck/facial injuries fell from 62% in 2002/03 to 35% in 2003–04 to just 4% in 2004–05 after headgear use was compulsory.
Conclusions: Injury rates in junior players are low, but increase with age and level of play. Use of protective headgear, particularly by batters, leads to a significant reduction in injuries.
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