MOVEMENT VARIABILITY AND ITS RELATIONSHIP TO INJURY MECHANISMS WITHIN THE FAST BOWLING ACTION IN CRICKET
Cardiff Metropolitan University
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Injuries to the fast bowler, specifically to the lumbar spine are the principal reason why many bowlers are forced to spend long periods of time away from the game and a major reason for ending their playing careers. The concept of movement variability is not a recent school of thought, though its perception has changed rather dramatically over the years. This study aimed to determine whether movement variability is capable of preventing injury mechanisms to a fast bowler during the delivery stride. Five collegiate level male fast bowlers (mean: age= 20.8 ±0.84 years; stature= 1.78 ±0.07 m; mass= 79.80 ±6.18 kg) performed twelve trials each at maximal intensity during which the delivery stride was captured using CODAmotion (200 Hz), two Kistler force platforms (1000 Hz), and ball release was recorded using a high definition video camera (50 Hz). Twelve active CODA markers placed on specific landmarks on the body detailed the motion data of individual participants during the delivery stride. All participants were classified as having mixed actions due to shoulder counter rotations of greater than 30°. A more front-on (larger) shoulder alignment at back foot contact (BFC) led to a large counter-rotation of the shoulders throughout the delivery stride, which implied that it would be beneficial to land with a more side-on alignment at BFC to reduce shoulder counter-rotation, and in turn reduce injury risk. Participant 3 produced the most noteworthy results in relation to their front knee action between FFC and ball release (BR), landing with a flexed knee and subsequently extending the knee until ball release (FFC = 163.18°; BR = 172.48°), and producing little variability within the movement (sd: FFC = 1.39°; BR = 1.24°). Implying that in this specific situation during the delivery stride there may be a need for consistency in skill execution, and therefore variability may offset the optimal outcome, and even increase injury risk. It must be noted that this statement would only apply to the specific parameters identified within the front knee action. From a dynamical systems perspective, the amount of force placed on each individual participant during FFC for this study was large (mean = 5.52 BW), but variability of the forces was minimal (mean = 0.52 BW), therefore a degree of variability would be required to reduce injury risk. Therefore there is still room for debate as to whether movement variability has a positive effect on injury mechanisms. Further research would be required to establish whether variability is the cause or effect of injury.
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