Indian J Orthop. 2023 Jun 6;57(10):1584-1591. doi: 10.1007/s43465-023-00916-4. eCollection 2023 Oct.
OBJECTIVES: To describe traumatic head and neck injuries in elite Australian cricket players, for the purposes of understanding risk and the role of protective equipment and regulations.
DESIGN: Retrospective cohort study.
METHODS: This study reviewed twelve seasons of clinical data for elite male and female cricket players who sustained a traumatic head or neck injury (excluding isolated concussion) whilst participating in a cricket match or training.
RESULTS: 199 events of head and neck injuries were recorded over the 12 seasons, equating to an average incidence of 5.6 per 100 players per season. Since the introduction of helmet regulations in 2016, the average incidence was 7.3. Including concurrent injuries, 232 injuries revealed contusions were the most common type of injury (41%, 35-48%), and the face was the most common location (63%, 57-69%). Injuries resulted in the player being unavailable for cricket for one or more days in 15% (11-22%) of events. Since the introduction of cricket helmet regulations, the proportion of injuries sustained while batting decreased from 54% (43-65%) to 38% (30-47%) (p = 0.026), and the proportion of injuries sustained while wicket keeping decreased from 19% (11-29%) to 6% (3-11%) (p=0.004).
CONCLUSION: Traumatic head and neck injuries occur at an incidence of approximately 7.3 per 100 players per season in elite Australian male and female cricket players. Whilst most injuries cause a low burden with respect to days unavailable, the risk of potentially serious or catastrophic consequences warrants further risk reduction strategies including tightening of the existing industry standard for helmets and governing body regulations.