Fast bowling workload and injury risk in first class county cricket
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Abstract Objectives Objectives of the study were to investigate the relationship between periods that preceded injury and that did not precede injury in professional fast bowlers across a First Class County Cricket (FCCC) season; specifically, the relationships between acute (7-day) and chronic (14- and 28-day) bowling workloads, and acute vs. chronic workload ratios and injury risk. Design Prospective study design. Setting First Class County Cricket in the UK. Participants 55 elite, male fast bowlers (mean age of 26.7 ± 4.9 years) from six FCCC Clubs were used in the study. Main Outcome Measures. Main outcome measures of the study were the injury risk and injury likelihoods associated with specific workloads and workload ratios. Acute vs. chronic workload ratios were calculated for pre injury/non injury occurrences by comparing chronic (14/28-day weekly average) data with acute (7-day) data to calculate an expression of the ratio of acute workload compared to chronic. Pre injury and non injury data were then compared. Results Sixty-nine bowling-related injuries were sustained in a total of 40 (73%) players with 15 (27%) remaining injury free. Injury incidence was 7.5 per 1000 days and injury prevalence was 14.6%. 28-day mean bowling workloads were lower preceding injury compared to 28-day periods that did not precede injury (d = 0.37). Low 28-day bowling workloads (Risk Ratio (RR) 2.29) were associated with an increased risk of injury. A moderately high 28-day acute vs. chronic bowling workload ratio (105.1-155%) was associated with a small increased risk of injury (RR 1.48). High and very high acute vs. chronic bowling ratios were associated with increased risk of injury (RR 1.58 and 2.33 respectively). High (RR 2.18) and very high (RR 3.94) 28-day acute vs. chronic bowling session workload ratios (>142.3%) were associated with an increased risk of injury. Conclusions The study has identified that high chronic workloads have a protective effect. Comparisons of periods preceding injury and not preceding injury highlighted that acute vs. chronic workload bowling ratios of 105 to 155% were relatively ‘safe’. Injury risk increased as acute vs. chronic workload ratios increased above 155%. Contrary to other work, low acute vs. chronic workload ratios did not confer increased injury risk. Bowling up to 3-4 sessions a week appears relatively safe for fast bowlers whilst bowling acute vs. chronic bowling session workload ratios of more than 142% had increased risk of injury. The study supports other work recommending that bowling volume and bowling session frequency be systematically progressed, and then maintained at relatively high workload levels. Keywords Fast bowler, injury, workload.
- Masters Degrees (Sport) 
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