Associations between kinematic and kinetic variables and lower back injury in female bowlers in cricket
University of Wales Institute Cardiff
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Lower back injuries, specifically to the lumbar spine, are the predominant reason why many bowlers are forced to end their cricketing careers. Developing knowledge of the safest yet most effective bowling technique will enhance performance and reduce the risk of injury. The aim of this study was to enhance the understanding of kinematic and kinetic variables reported to significantly increase the risk of lower back injury in female bowlers. Four high-performance right-handed female bowlers (mean ± s: age 20.5 ± 1.3 yrs; stature 1.71 ± 0.03 m; body mass 64.08 ± 7.82 kg) performed twelve trials at maximum effort, in which the delivery stride was captured using two Kistler force platforms (1000 Hz) and recorded using a high-definition video camera (50 Hz). Nineteen markers located on both sides of the body (fifth metatarso-phalangeal; lateral malleolus; lateral condyle of the femur; greater trochanter; anterior, posterior and lateral aspects of the glenohumeral joint; temple; right lateral epicondyle of the humerus; right lateral epicondyle of the ulna; right distal phalanx of the third finger) recorded the motion data (200 Hz). One participant was classified as mixed due to a hip-shoulder alignment of greater than 30º at back foot impact, while the remaining three were side-on bowlers. Pearson’s product-moment correlation coefficients (r) revealed that there were no significant correlations between knee and hip angles and vertical ground reaction force at front foot impact or ball release, or between hip-shoulder separation angles and shoulder counter-rotation (P <0.05). A larger (more front-on) shoulder alignment angle at back foot impact resulted in a smaller hip-shoulder separation angle, but significantly increased counter-rotation of the shoulders during the delivery stride (r = 0.634, P < 0.01), which implied that it would be beneficial to assume a more side-on alignment at back foot impact in order to reduce the risk of injury. Coaching directives should be altered to recognise injurious aspects of technique to minimise risk for bowlers. Further research should investigate movement patterns demonstrated in the follow-through to enhance the understanding of injurious technique parameters which occur during the delivery stride.
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