The more usual injuries suffered playing cricket include sprains, strains, fractures and bruising – particularly to the hands and lower legs. Face, finger and hand injuries occur through poor catching technique and fast bowlers often sustain stress injuries to the back, sides and shoulders.
Tips for avoiding injury when playing cricket
Wear the right gear
Most of the safety gear you’ll need is to protect you when you’re batting, and it really isn’t a good idea to go to the crease without it. Helmets are a must nowadays – you may have seen classic clips of Ian Botham batting to win the Ashes without a helmet, but in the light of recent serious injuries (and even deaths) it’s now regarded as an absolute essential to wear a helmet. The same goes for gloves – getting hit on the hand it not only unbelievably painful – it also makes it very difficult to catch, bowl or really continue playing the rest of the game. And of course, a box. Put it this way. If you go out without one, you won’t want to get hit there twice. For a full list of protective gear, see our guide to “what kit do you need to play cricket for beginners?” (Link)
A lot of injuries happen when you’re diving, twisting or running , so strengthening the muscles, joints and ligaments will make your body much more resilient during the game.
Training sessions will also give you more understanding of the correct techniques for bowling, batting and catching. You’re less likely to pick up hand injuries if you’ve learnt to catch properly, and the more you learn about batting, the less likely you are to get hit and the more likely you are to enjoy your time at the crease.
When you’re out in the field, it’s easy to pick up injuries from falling, slipping or even colliding, so first of all, make sure your coach has taught you the proper sliding technique. It’s also important to learn the drill when you’re chasing a high ball. Remember to call your name loudly and clearly (don’t just shout “mine”) if you’re sure you can make the catch so that anyone else running for it doesn’t run into you while they’re trying to do the same. Likewise, if you hear someone else call, give way, but get ready to back them up.
With so much stopping and starting and explosive action, it’s hugely important to ensure your muscles are stretched off properly before the you go out to bat, field or bowl – and try to have a few mini stretches, taking advantage of any quiet periods in play, between overs or if anyone else is injured!
Equally, don’t dismiss the importance of stretching down after a game – a lot of injuries happen to tired muscles.
You’re out in the field a long time, so you should never underestimate the dangers of dehydration – it can cause cramps, heat exhaustion and long term kidney damage.
Limit the number of overs a fast bowler undertakes, particularly with a view to age and fitness.
Prepare the cricket ground
Always check your own equipment thoroughly the night (or a couple of nights) before to ensure it won’t let you down. On the day of the match, get to the ground early to help out if necessary. It’s easy to pick up injuries from the pitch if you don’t take absolute care of the playing surface. Before the game, make sure you remove any hazards, like stones, dog mess and water from the playing surface and don’t play on a wet pitch. Make sure the sight screens are in place to protect the batsmen and finally, make sure first aid kits, ice packs, stretchers and qualified first aid personal are in place.