Head and Neck Injuries : Cricket Injuries

Cricket is a direct contact sport, in a way, because it involves eleven players a side with a bowler bowling a cricket ball, with batsman swinging a paddle-like cricket bat before wickets, and with players running and crouching. Most injuries to the face, head, and neck are caused by a fast-flying cricket ball making forceful contact.

Symptoms of Head and Neck Injuries

Typical injuries to the head and neck during cricket are facial lacerations and fractures, concussion, spinal injuries and stenosis, cervical disk and eye injuries. With all these injuries, bruising, inflammation and swelling will appear with feelings of pain. A facial laceration is a cut to the face soft tissue causing bleeding, some bruising and swelling. Bone fractures to the face will cause severe swelling, bruising and pain.

With broken nose bones, the nose will be deformed with bleeding. If the jaw is broken, the cricket player will be unable to bite teeth together (malocclusion) and the underside of the tongue will bruise. Middle face fractures cause clear nasal discharge and blurred vision. With cheekbone zygomatic fractures the cheek flattens with intense pain in the jaw or the jaw cannot move with jaw-to-temporal ear fractures. Eye socket orbital fractures can cause the eye to sink in with double or distorted vision.

Concussion is mild brain or head trauma with dizziness, disorientation, nauseousness, and swelling at point of contact (haematoma). Batsman and bowlers can develop spinal stenosis and injuries causing pain in the lower back, numbness, tingling and muscle weakness in the arms and legs. When spinal or cervical vertebrae of the neck are hurt, players feel neck and arm pain with numbness or tingling sensations.

Causes of Head and Neck Injuries

The sources of head and neck injuries to cricket players is usually direct contact by a cricket ball at breakneck speed. Overstretching muscles in the neck is another cause. Spinal injuries can occur from repetitive bowling or bat swinging with force. Other factors causing inflammation of tendon or damage to bone can be when neck muscles are pulled from not warming up properly before a cricket match, dehydration or poor diet, illness and incorrect batting or bowling technique.

Medical Treatment of Head and Neck Injuries

The injured player should immediately stop the cricket activity and rest, place ice inside a cloth over the wound and apply a compression if possible. Medical attention should be sought to gauge the degree of injury. In cases of neck injury, a neck brace should be placed around the players neck to support the muscle and bone. A painkiller can be used and cuts should be cleaned with saline. If spinal injury occurs, then a physician may prescribe painkillers or give epidural injections to reduce pain while referring for X-ray and/or MRI scans. Physiotherapy is an option for recovery or minimally invasive surgery for facial construction or spinal rehabilitation.

Preventing Head and Neck Injuries

Wearing batting helmets is key to reduce risk of head trauma. All players should learn the right cricket exercise technique for their role and also adequately warm up before playing. Having medical assistance on-hand is important and players can seek advice from physiotherapists and cricket sports professionals about fluid in-take, diet, protective gear, and cricket sporting techniques to minimize injury.

© Medic8® | All Rights Reserved