Tell us more about yourself and the author team.
I am a physiotherapist based in New Zealand. Over the last few years, I have worked primarily with a variety of sports across domestic and international levels. I completed a Master of Health Science qualification through Auckland University of Technology (AUT) with a research thesis that investigated the injury incidence and prevalence of elite male New Zealand cricketers from 2009 to 2015 which formed the basis of this study. Currently, and at the time of publication, I am a physiotherapist with New Zealand Cricket.
The co-authors of this research are Prof. Duncan Reid and Dayle Shackel. Among his many roles, Duncan Reid is a physiotherapist and professor at AUT who provided valuable support through the academic process having a background of publication within sports injury incidence and prevention. Dayle Shackel is the New Zealand Cricket High-Performance Physiotherapist and Medical Manager. He had an integral role in the implementation of the New Zealand Cricket injury surveillance system and its supervision and provided insight into the context and demands of elite cricket.
What is the story behind your study?
T20 cricket has increased in popularity and competitiveness since a previously published injury epidemiology study within New Zealand cricket of seasons 2002-2008. While initially a novel format of cricket, the T20 format is now very mainstream and commercially and professionally lucrative. The physical demand of players in T20 cricket differs from other formats and exposes them to new workloads and risks, the influence of which is not known in this New Zealand population. Guidelines for injury surveillance reporting within cricket have also since been updated. We wanted to investigate if the growth of T20 cricket had an impact on injury incidence and prevalence. We conducted this study with consistent injury reporting methods to compare with previous data and built on that research with further statistical analysis. We also included the addition of updated injury reporting methods and metrics to contribute to the body of contemporary sports injury research.
In your own words, what did you find?
We were able to show that there has been an increase in total injury incidence rates in this period compared to the last surveillance study. Through the statistical analysis, we found that pace bowlers and international level cricketers were the most injured individuals. We were also able to describe some similarities and differences of the injured body sites and the resulting number of match days lost to injury between domestic and international level cricketers. The study findings can be used to inform where injury prevention may potentially need to be targeted across domestic and international players, as well wider considerations of the influence of T20 cricket.
What was the main challenge you faced in your study?
We had a large dataset to work, so to ensure accurate and reliable results, the data of each domestic and international player in the injury surveillance system were retrospectively reviewed. We also took great care to ensure that our injury incidence and prevalence calculations were not only consistent with previous research, but also with the contemporary reporting guidelines.
If there is one take-home message from your study, what would that be?
The injury incidence and prevalence within male elite New Zealand Cricket has changed since it was last studied, and since T20 cricket has become a more frequent and competitive format of play. It is known that T20 requires different physical demands compared to other formats so consistent injury surveillance reporting will assist in informing injury prevention strategies.