CSU Bathurst takes wickets for Cricket Australia

CSU Bathurst takes wickets for Cricket Australia

Researchers at CSU Bathurst have joined forces with researchers at University of Sydney to determine whether current Cricket Australia guidelines are successful at reducing lower back injuries in young fast bowlers.

With Australian Cricket stars Mitchell Starc and James Pattinson regularly ruled out of matches with lower back injuries, this research will help Cricket Australia determine better guidelines to keep players healthy.

Dr Suzi Edwards and Associate Professor Nick O’Dwyer, lecturers in exercise science at CSU School of Human Movement Bathurst, and Honours student Mr Andrew Schaefer will be working with up to 20 male bowlers to determine whether these guidelines are successful.

Dr Edwards said, “There has been growing concern about the increase in lower back injuries among both elite fast bowlers and juniors, as up to 50 per cent of youth fast bowlers have a lower back injury and approximately 24 per cent of 13-14 year-old bowlers have disc degeneration.”

The researchers are seeking up to 20 male fast bowlers aged 14 to 19 who live in the Central West, to undertake one three-hour session at the School’s Biomechanical Laboratory.

Andrew Schaefer will be able to test his thesis on how many balls a bowler under the age of 19 should be allowed to bowl in both games and training sessions.

“As part of Andrew’s Honours thesis research, we are investigating the validity of Cricket Australia guidelines that restrict the number of deliveries that bowlers under the age of 19 are allowed to bowl in both matches and training sessions, and whether this reduces the risk of lower back injury.”

Working in the labratory with equipment worth around $500,000, the athletes will also be wearing markers that will create a 3D analysis of the bowling action.

“We put special markers on the bowler’s skin to record the 3D motion of their bowling action using special high speed video cameras and electrodes to measure the muscle activity during 10 consecutive six-ball overs,” Dr Edwards said.

“This study will provide valuable information about a bowler’ action and whether their bowling technique increases the risk of lower back injury or can reduce time on the sideline due injury. It will also assist Cricket Australia to evaluate the current bowling restrictions that hinder junior bowlers in building game-specific endurance.”

The participants will also receive a detailed report on their bowling actions and a 3D analysis.

“Each participant will receive a free 3D biomechanical assessment of their bowling action and a report detailing their actions. This is ordinarily only available to elite adult bowlers at institutes of sport.”

The research is being undertaken in collaboration with Dr Edouard Rene Ferdinands at the University of Sydney, with testing concluded by the end of August and non-identifiable results publicly available in late 2013.

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