Objective: To describe and analyse injuries and illness occurring in Australian cricket at first class level.
Methods: Injuries occurring to the state and national teams were surveyed prospectively between the seasons 1998/1999 and 2000/2001, and the three preceding seasons were surveyed retrospectively. The definition of an injury was detailed and generally required the player to miss playing time in a major match.
Results: Average injury match incidence in the seasons studied prospectively varied from a low of 19.0 injuries per 10 000 player hours in first class domestic matches to a high of 38.5 injuries per 10 000 player hours in one day internationals. The average seasonal incidence was 19.2 injuries per squad (25 players) per season (20 matches). Injury prevalence (the percentage of players missing through injury at any given time) was 14% for pace bowlers, 4% for spin bowlers, 4% for batsmen, and 2% for wicket keepers. The most common injuries were hamstring strains, side strains, groin injuries, wrist and hand injuries, and lumbar soft tissue injuries. Bowlers who had bowled more than 20 match overs in the week leading up to a match had an increased risk of sustaining a bowling injury (risk ratio 1.91, 95% confidence interval (CI) 1.28 to 2.85). A further risk for bowling injury is bowling second in a match-that is, batting first (risk ratio 1.62, 95% CI 1.04 to 2.50). A risk factor for injury in fielding is colliding with the boundary fence.
Conclusions: Further study is required to determine ways to minimise the risk of injury in fast bowlers. Cricket grounds should mark a boundary line on the playing field to prevent players colliding with fences in the field.