Background Injury surveillance is fundamental to understanding, preventing and reducing the risk of injury.
Objectives The objective was to determine the incidence of injuries sustained by elite schoolboy cricketers over five-seasons in order to identify risk factors.
Design Ethics approval for this study was obtained. Participants were required to complete questionnaires relating to cricket injuries sustained in the previous year. This included (i) anatomical site; (ii) month; (iii) cause; (iv) whether it was a recurrence of a previous injury, (v) whether the injury had reoccurred again during the season, and (vi) biographical data.
Settings Cricketers competing in national age-group tournaments participated.
Participants Provincial age-group cricketers (n=3 600) participates in the study with 2 081 (58%) questionnaires completed.
Risk factor assessment Injuries were grouped according to the anatomical region injured. The Sample Statistical Analysis System was used to compute univariate statistics and frequency distributions.
Main outcome measures Injury patterns for young cricketers would be similar to that of adult cricketers, with slight variations at different age-groups.
Results 572 cricketers sustained 658 injuries with the U15, U17 and U18 groups sustaining 36%, 35% and 29% of the injuries, respectively. U15 cricketers sustained less serious injuries (unable to play for 1–7 days) (58%). The U17 (54%) and U18 (51%) groups sustained more serious injuries (unable to play for more than 8 days). Injuries were predominantly to the lower limbs (38%), back and trunk (33%) and upper (26%) limbs with bowling (44%) the primary mechanism of injury. These injuries occurred primarily during 1-day matches (30%), practices (29%) and gradual onset (21%).
Conclusion Similar injury patterns occurred in studies of adult cricketers, with slight differences in the nature and incidence of injuries found for the various age-groups. Fast bowlers of all ages remain at the greatest risk of injury.
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