Injury system
Guyana Chronicle
July 21, 2003

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ST. JOHN’S, Antigua : (WICB)- The West Indies Cricket Board has agreed to implement an injury prevention system for fast bowlers under the age of 19 and specifically in Under-15 and Under-19 WICB competitions.

The WICB's board of directors has also given its approval to a reconfigured medical panel during their meeting last Saturday and Sunday in Roseau, Dominica.

In order to preserve the longevity of young fast bowlers, the WICB is encouraging all territorial boards, clubs and schools to adopt the SPOT system in their competitions.

The SPOT system is based on the following principles:

* Screening bowlers at an early age for all risk factors including their posture;

* Physical preparation is essential;

* Over bowling or overuse will cause undue strain to be placed on the body;

* Technique - emphasise correct use of bowling mechanics and force absorption.

These guidelines will apply at all levels of the game from Under-12 to Under-19. For example, bowling spells will be limited at Under-15 level to four to five overs per spell and two spells per innings, while Under-19 players will be limited to five to six overs per spell with three spells per innings. There will also be limitations on bowling in practice sessions.

“We are concerned that our young fast bowlers, in particular, are breaking down too early in their careers and we have traced it back to technical faults and overuse,” remarked Dr. Michael Seepersaud, chief cricket development officer.

He added: “In the case of technical faults, we have equipped coaches to deal with this area with the aid of video analysis. On the issue of overuse, previously we left it to the good sense of team coaches to manage this area appropriately, but the Cricket Committee felt they had to step in to protect young bowlers.

The limits we have introduced are not unique to the West Indies. Only the other day, India placed a restriction on Under-19 spin bowlers playing limited-overs cricket. This is a worldwide trend and has been applied with some success in other cricket nations.”

The WICB has also agreed to introduce a more defined structure for the medical panel with four specific areas of responsibility under the supervision of medical personnel.

Dr. Akshai Mansingh and Dr. Llewellyn Harper have been appointed to head the Injury Management and Sports Physiology & Performance arms respectively, of the medical panel.

Two other well-known Caribbean medical personalities have been identified to head the Physiotherapy and Fitness & Conditioning arms of the panel, but will be named later.

“Our aim was to establish a team of dedicated and competent sports medicine professionals responsible for the delivery of quality medical and fitness services to West Indies cricketers,” said Michael Hall, chief cricket operations officer of the WICB.

“We wanted to have a fully functional medical panel bearing in mind the unique requirements for sports professionals like the players that comprise our West Indies teams. The medical panel has been restructured into four areas and funding has now been approved to ensure that its work is completed in a timely and effective manner.

“The current break in our international cricket programme provides an ideal opportunity for the panel to be empowered and begin its work which we all believe is vital to the future success of West Indies cricket.”

The medical panel has also been given six common areas of responsibility:

1. Creation and maintenance of a database of West Indies cricketers in each area of expertise;

2. Setting up communication structure among panel members;

3. Formulation of protocols of fitness and injury management including the establishment of required standards;

4. Formulation of research projects within the four departments in conjunction with WICB stakeholders;

5. Delivery of educational seminars in each area of expertise; and

6. Advise the WICB on the matter of medical insurance.

All of this comes on the heels of the news that the WICB has also agreed to the establishment of a full-time physiotherapist for the senior West Indies team. The position is currently filled on a part-time basis during home series by physiotherapists from the various match venues.

On overseas tours, the team has from time to time contracted services in the country being visited.