Are Fast-Bowlers Prone to Back Injuries? Prevalence of Lumbar Spine Injuries in Fast-Bowlers: Review of MRI-Based Studies

Asian J Sports Med. 2014 Dec;5(4):e24291. doi: 10.5812/asjsm.24291. Epub 2014 Nov 10.


Background: Fast-bowlers in cricket subject their spines to repetitive stress.

Objectives: The aim of this study was to review the prevalence of lumbar spine injuries among fast-bowlers.

Materials and methods: Medline and embase searches were performed. Further, the authors canvassed the reference list of available articles and used other search engines such as Google Scholar to identify a total of nine studies.

Results: The prevalence of lumbar disc degeneration in fast-bowlers ranges from 21-65% with an incidence rate of 15% per year, and the prevalence of lumbar spine bony abnormalities ranges from 24-81%. Factors associated with lumbar spine injury in fast-bowlers are classified into un-modifiable (age) and modifiable (more intense bowling workload and mixed-bowling technique).

Conclusions: Fast-bowlers have a high prevalence of lumbar spine injuries. Appropriate interventions, such as educational sessions, may be able to modify risk factors such as bowling workload and bowling technique and thus reduce injury prevalence.

Keywords: Athletes; Back Injury; Fast-Bowler; Spine Injury; Systematic Review.