To determine the incidence, prevalence and impact of shoulder injury in elite South African cricketers.
Prospective longitudinal cohort study.
One hundred and six senior national/franchise cricketers completed a pre-season Kerlan-Jobe Orthopaedic Clinic shoulder and elbow (KJOC) score. All injuries sustained during the 2016/2017 season were captured on an injury reporting system. Injuries were verified by the respective squad physiotherapist at the end of the season and post-season KJOC score was obtained from all the players.
Eighteen percent (95% CI: 11–25%) of cricketers sustained a shoulder injury, at a rate of 0.19 injuries per player per year. Annual injury prevalence was 1.1%. Shoulder injury occurred primarily while throwing (58%). Fielding performance was maintained by adapting throwing technique (58%) or fielding position (21%). Thirty-two percent of shoulder injuries resulted in time lost to matches and/or training. A history of shoulder injury increased the risk of sustaining another injury by 1.91 times (95% CI: 1.73–2.15). Irrespective of injury, cricketers demonstrated consistently low pre- (78.5 ± 15.6) and post-season (81.2 ± 17.1) KJOC scores. Pre-season KJOC scores were significantly lower (r2 = 0.106, p = 0.001) in those cricketers with a history of shoulder injury. Cricketers who sustained a seasonal shoulder injury had significantly lower (r2 = 0.112, p < 0.001) post-season KJOC scores, indicating persistent shoulder pain or dysfunction.
This is the first study to report both time- and non-time-loss shoulder injury in elite South African cricketers. All non-time-loss shoulder injuries compromised primary skill, while some resulted in changes to throwing technique and fielding position. Thus shoulder injury, whether it results in time loss or not, potentially impacts match performance.
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Published online: May 11, 2019
Accepted: May 7, 2019
Received in revised form: May 3, 2019
Received: November 24, 2018
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