With the growing craze for cricket, the varying formats, including T20 Cricket the level of competition has forced every cricketer to perform consistently and constantly which tends to take a toll on their health.
The most common injuries in cricket are shoulder injuries which occur as a result of fielding especially incorrect throwing techniques, injuries to the elbow which result from poor techniques when both batting and bowling, injuries to the hands and wrists are impact injuries from the contact of the ball while batting that can cause fractures, dislocations, and sprains.
Pain in the lower back area that young bowlers face when performing a bowling action for long periods of time can cause excess stress on the lower back muscle tissue. Also, injuries to the feet and ankles are a result of the impact of the foot landing in the delivery stride of the bowlers. A hamstring pull is one major concern; it is a tear in the muscle tissue and occurs while bowling, batting or while fielding as well.
The best way to prevent injuries is to warm up for at least 10-20 minutes before any activity and then one can continue with stretching exercises. Warm up exercises increases the temperature of muscles, the blood flow, and oxygen to muscles, the speed of nerve impulses and the range of motion which will reduce the risk of tearing muscles and ligaments.
Warm up will not only help avoid injury but will also improve an individual’s performance. Warm up must include slow jog that circulates the blood and oxygen supplying the muscles more energy to work with.
Also, one can do stretching to increase the range and flexibility of the joints on a daily basis. Emphasis should be placed on stretching of the lower back, shoulders, hamstrings, groins, neck and calf muscles and also the other areas used majorly while playing. The cooldown is often neglected by budding cricketers. The benefits of cooling down are that it slowly lowers the heart rate, restoring the blood, oxygen, and muscles to their normal condition and it reduces the risk of muscle soreness.
In case of ankle or wrist injury, one can wear an ankle or wrist support in order to avoid excessive strain. Injury to the Rotator Cuff muscles caused due to tremendous strain on the shoulders while bowling and repeated throwing of the ball while fielding can be prevented by correct throwing and bowling techniques if practiced. One can also work on shoulder stabilization exercises to strengthen it.
For fast bowlers who are prone to lower back injuries, can practice bending backward, here the spinal hyperextension along with rotation and side bending of the body is combined. Core stability exercises can be done on a regular basis to avoid back injuries. Also, shock absorbing insoles in the footwear can help reduce the stress on the back.
Hence to have an injury free cricketing career the best ways are to include proper warm-ups, cooling down, stretching exercises along with proper diet, regular massages & wearing of essential and proper sports gears while on the field, in order to play, perform as well as enjoy cricket to the maximum.
– by Cresinda D Costa