Asymmetrical abdominal muscle morphometry is present in injury free adolescent cricket pace bowlers: A prospective observational study

Phys Ther Sport. 2017 Nov;28:34-42. doi: 10.1016/j.ptsp.2017.08.078. Epub 2017 Aug 24.


Objectives: This study aimed to determine if abdominal muscle thickness, activation and symmetry are associated with prospective in-season injury among adolescent cricket pace bowlers.

Design: A quantitative, prospective, observational study design was used.

Setting: Data was collected at an indoor venue at a secondary school.

Participants: 28 injury-free, male, adolescent pace bowlers between the ages of 13 and 18 participated.

Main outcome measures: Muscle thickness of the transversus abdominis (TA), internal oblique (IO) and external oblique (EO) muscles were measured at rest and during an abdominal drawing-in maneuver (ADIM) i.e. activation, using ultrasound imaging. Incidence of injury was monitored monthly during the cricket season.

Results: Thickness of the non-dominant IO at rest was greater than the dominant side for pace bowlers who remained injury free during the cricket season (p = 0.01, effect size (ES) = 0.65). This was, however not the case for bowlers who sustained injuries (p = 0.47; ES = 0.24). TA percentage change during ADIM (activation) on the dominant side was less in bowlers who sustained non-contact injuries compared to those who remained injury free (p = 0.03; ES = 1.17).

Conclusions: Asymmetry in IO thickness may play a protective role against injury, whilst poor TA activation on the dominant side may pose a risk to injury.

Keywords: Bowler; Cricket; Injury; Ultrasound imaging.

Publication types

  • Observational Study

MeSH terms

  • Abdominal Muscles / anatomy & histology*
  • Abdominal Muscles / diagnostic imaging*
  • Adolescent
  • Athletes*
  • Athletic Injuries / diagnosis
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Prospective Studies
  • Risk Factors
  • Sports
  • Ultrasonography