The Fearless Fast Bowling Project
The key focus of our research in cricket is in the prevention of injury and the enhancement of performance. We achieve our research objectives through on-field as well as laboratory research.
Overall, cricket is considered a safe sport. However, fast bowlers are prone to noncontact injury where injury rates correspond to that of contact sports. Three strategies are important in the holistic approach to injury prevention in fast bowlers namely modifying the extrinsic factors (such as bowling workload), the intrinsic technique-related factors (the components of the bowling action), and the intrinsic neuromuscular-related factors (such as balance and muscle strength). The identification and modification of risk factors are important in the prevention of injury. Therefore, the overarching aim of the Fearless Fast Bowling Project is to identify and modify injury risk factors in cricket fast bowlers.
The Fearless Fast Bowling project consists of two studies, the foundation project (study 1) and the branching project (study 2). The foundation project (study 1) will consist of the development of a longitudinal database housing fast bowlers in South Africa’s demographic and lifestyle factors, injury history and incidence, and bowling and training workload. The population of fast bowlers at high school, club, amateur, and professional level will be invited to participate in the foundation project. Injury, bowling, and training workload surveillance will be performed over a period of five years or longer (if the bowler gives consent to participate and fit the inclusion criteria).
The branching projects (study 2) further investigate extrinsic and intrinsic risk factors to injury. A subgroup of fast bowlers participating in the foundation project will be invited to participate in the branching project. A functional assessment, including balance and movement control tests, as well as bowling technique analysis, will be performed at the start of the cricket season, while injury incidence, bowling, and training workload will be monitored throughout the season. Risk factors will be determined which will form the basis for future research in injury prevention programmes.
If you would like to participate in this research study, please complete the demographic and lifestyle questionnaire by clicking on this link http://j.mp/2Nh4QGz or scan the QR code below. It will take you around 30 minutes to complete the baseline questionnaire. Thereafter, bowling and training workload-monitoring questionnaire, as well as injury monitoring questionnaire, will be sent to you weekly via email. Both the workload and injury questionnaires are short and takes only a few minutes to complete.
Injury Surveillance and Workload Monitoring
Knowing which injuries are sustained by who under which circumstances is essential to determine the factors associated with injury, and to prevent injury. Furthermore, keeping track of training and match workloads and at the same time keeping track of participation in other sports, can help us determine the risk of injury. For the Injury Surveillance and Workload Monitoring project, all injuries are reported via an online platform, called REDCap. The more we know about injury and workload, the better informed our future decisions will be.
If you would like your team, school, or club to make use of this injury surveillance system and join this research project, please contact Benita Olivier (Benita.Olivier@wits.ac.za) for more information.
Women's cricket is a growing sport not only in South Africa but around the world. There is very little research available specifically for women's cricket. Male and female cricket players differ, and the current research framework for male cricket players cannot be directly transferred to female cricket players. We are attempting to bridge the research gap between men's and women's cricket. Current research on women’s cricket includes the incidence and prevalence of injuries among female cricket players. Our most recent project aims to describe the epidemiological profile of elite and non-elite female cricket players in South Africa to gain a better understanding of the injuries sustained by females, how to prevent them, and how to optimise individual and team cricket performance for ultimate success.
Foot and Ankle Injury Project
The Wits Cricket Research Hub, together with a group of orthopaedic surgeons, is exploring ankle and foot injuries amongst cricketers. This is an area where there is lots of work to be done where there is potential to create great impact in the lives of our cricketers.
Human Movement Analysis
The human body is an incredible structure and how we move tells us a lot about what is going on inside us. Movement analysis can be employed where the aim is to prevent injury or optimise performance in the athlete. The Wits Cricket Research Hub is conducting research involving the three-dimensional analysis of the fast-bowling action. We are also working closely with Cricket South Africa where we are analysing the bowing actions of bowlers who are part of Cricket South Africa’s Elite Fast Bowling Group.
Research Data Management and Sharing
Responsible data management is crucial to ensure that we optimise the use of our research data while we protect our precious intellectual property resources. According to the FAIR Data Principles data should be Findable, Accessible, Interoperable and Re-usable (https://www.force11.org/group/fairgroup/fairprinciples) for long term use.
The re-use and sharing of research data will promote the dissemination of and improve the impact of our research as it will allow us to answer additional research questions using existing data. We may argue that because there are so much data available internationally on open access data sharing repositories, we don’t need to invest time and energy on developing our own Human Movement Database. However, the data on international platforms are not specific to our context and do not necessarily contain the detail or constructs that we need to answer our specific research questions. Thus, in general this data will be provided on a preferential basis to researchers looking to solve specifically South African problems or do research which would be particularly to the benefit of the people of South Africa in light of the role that the country and its people have played in directly and indirectly funding this research.
Through the responsible management of data and through putting systems in place to allow for the re-use of data in future research projects, our capacity to generate research outputs will increase. Also, through the conversations and communication that happen around managing, curating and sharing our data, more insights will be gained into previous, current and ongoing research in this field. This knowledge will open doors for generating collaborative projects, formulating new research questions and avoiding unnecessary and unintentional duplication of studies. Furthermore, if we want to combine various datasets so that we can perform advanced data analysis (Big Data) in the future, then we need to be strategic in our approach to both data collection and data management.
For more information, download the Wits Cricket Research Hub Data Management and Sharing Guide
Should you wish to apply for data on the Human Movement Database, feel free to contact Benita.Olivier@wits.ac.za or Loveth Obiora firstname.lastname@example.org.
Translation and Integration Between Sports
The Wits Cricket Research Hub and its team members recognise that while being a unique sport, cricket shares many principles with other sports. Our team members are involved in generating knowledge in other sports such as rugby, football, and golf, so that we can learn from the nuances, principles, and methodologies associated with these sports.