Ashes and Cricket injuries

With the Ashes on the radio I thought I’d write a little piece about injuries in cricket – and what to do about them. Cook has just taken a hit in the central circle and everyone is wincing and laughing and discussing how long he should ice for.

Most people consider cricket a very dangerous sport due to the hard ball and the fast speed that it travels. In reality the incidence of injury in cricket is not as great as football, martial arts or of course rugby (the highest incidence of injury).

However if you do get hit by a cricket ball it can hurt and just as Cook is now experiencing the best thing to do with impact injuries is to apply ice. This is if you are certain that you dont have a fracture in which case see below.

Impact injuries

The most common injury in cricket is to the hands resulting from mis-catches. Most of these are bruises and just need time, massage and ice. If the finger or hand looks different or continues to be extremely painful after 3 hours its worth getting it x-rayed. Its worth noting though that if the finger or hand is not out of place, they will just splint it at A and E which is easily done your self.

Other impact injuries from cricket can be viewed the same way. They are probably just bruises. If something is out of place or it continues to be extremely painful after three hours then it may be worth a trip to A and E.

One of the worst (in terms of outcome) impact injuries to occur on a cricket pitch is a collision between two players running for a ball (as we know from the recent Sussex vs Surrey match where Henriques broke his jaw in three places!). The reason is really the combination of speed and mass i.e. two people running in opposite directions, towards each other (ie amplifying the speed) and the mass of two players hitting each other.

Shoulder Injuries

These are very common in cricket due to frequent throwing and especially bowling. Most of these are soft tissue injuries but a diagnosis distinguishing between AC joint, rotator cuff or shoulder capsule pain is important to speed up recovery through specific exercise advise. If you have just injured your shoulder however its worth using cold packing to reduce inflammation and speed up recovery.

If your shoulder problem persist, get treatment or at the very least a diagnosis and advice or you could be retiring earlier than you wish.

Back Pain

Over the years I have treated alot of players for back pain and there is no real common denominator – other than cricket. There are bowlers who have back injuries that relate to their sidebending bowling action and batsmen who suffer low back pain after a days cricket, but really every case has to judged on its merit.

Again I would encourage you to seek diagnosis and treatment especially if the symptoms persist for more than a week. In the intervening week you might want to try cold packing and remember to keep moving.


Finally, if you get injured like Cook, well its just a question of time and some gentle massage.


J P Nicholl, P Coleman* and B T Williams. The epidemiology of sports and exercise related injury in the United Kingdom. Br. J. Sports Med., Vol. 29, No. 4, pp. 232-238, 1995