Injury Epidemiology of Elite New Zealand Cricketers: A 2009-2015 Update
Introduction: Cricket played in New Zealand at international and domestic level has increased in recent time as well as growth of the new Twenty20 match format. Increasing and variable workloads are known to influence the risk of injury in sport. Understanding the impact of injury is necessary to develop appropriate injury prevention measures. An update of the injury incidence and prevalence rates in New Zealand cricketers is required to establish the current impact of injury and direct future interventions.
Purpose: To determine the injury incidence and prevalence rates of elite New Zealand cricketers from 2009-2015 and investigate the relationship between injury and the level of cricket played, playing position, and workload.
Methods: New Zealand Cricket maintains an injury surveillance system to prospectively record injury status in domestic and international cricketers. The injury status of 873 domestic cricketers (mean age 28.2, SD = 4.6), and 216 international level cricketers (mean age 28.9, SD = 4.0) between 2009-2015 was retrospectively analysed.
Results: The overall new match injury incidence rates between 2009-2015 were 37.0 injuries per 10,000 player hours in domestic cricket, and 58.0 injuries per 10,000 player hours in international cricket. Total injury prevalence rates from 2009-2015 were 7.6% in domestic cricket, and 10.0% in international cricket. The most injured body site in domestic cricket was the hamstring (8.2%), and the groin (13.5%) in international cricket. Most match days were lost to lumbar spine injuries in domestic cricket (417 days), and groin injuries in international cricket (152 days). There was a statistically significant difference in injury status between domestic and international level cricketers (χ² = 4.39, p = 0.036), and playing position (χ² = 42.29, p < 0.0001). The number of match exposure hours was associated with increased number of injuries (p < 0.0001).
Conclusion: Total injury incidence rates have increased in elite New Zealand cricket between 2009-2015 compared to 2002-2008, most likely due to the increase in Twenty20 matches domestically and internationally. International level players and fast-medium pace bowlers were the most injured player types, with increasing match hours of exposure related to the number of injuries. It is suggested that workload interventions may positively influence injury incidence rates in the future.