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NDORMS DPhil & MSc by Research


  • Epidemiology
  • Osteoarthritis
  • Sport

Research Project Outline

Musculoskeletal (MSK) Injuries in baseball players are a persistent and significant problem, with the greatest incidence attributed to the shoulder, elbow, knee and trunk.  These injuries are common and injury rates are increasing.  These MSK injuries have been attributed to increases in overall training volume, overall cumulative work load, range of motion, and strength, among other factors.  While the basic tenements of MSK injury have been identified, differing results make it unclear to what degree these risk factors should affect MSK injury risk in professional baseball players. 

Musculoskeletal injury has been shown to predispose athletes to future osteoarthritis (OA) implications. Osteoarthritis can be a debilitating pathology which can cause poor joint outcomes within athletic populations. Poor joint outcomes can be defined as total joint replacement, decreased function, decreased perceived quality of life, or increased pain.  The associative factors stemming from OA can have a relationship to overall long-term health. Increased OA prevalence has been shown to decrease physical activity and increase sedentary habits within patient populations.  This decrease in physical activity can have a deleterious effect on basic health factors such as cardiovascular disease and diabetes. 

Although other sports such as American football, football, and cricket have investigated the long-term consequences of MSK injuries and potential development of OA in retired elite athletes, currently there is a paucity of research investigating these implications within professional baseball players.  As a result, there is a need to understand and identify the multifactorial relationship between MSK injury and OA in current and former professional baseball players, and the long-term health implications of these injuries and pathologies.  This investigation will allow clinicians insight into risk factors that can be utilized as a foundation for screening tools, and the design of individualized and team-based injury prevention strategies.  Furthermore, these data can be employed to better educate and prescribe physical activity, exercise, and rehabilitation recommendations for retiring professional baseball players who have sustained a MSK injury.

The specific aims that will be addressed during the DPhil are:

  1. To assess the multifaceted aspects that affect the prevalence of musculoskeletal injury in professional baseball pitchers.
  2. To define the general health demographics of current and former professional baseball pitchers and compare them to a general population sample.
  3. To investigate the risk of musculoskeletal injury on poor joint outcomes in former professional baseball pitchers.
  4. To assess the implications of injury history on the long-term health of former professional baseball pitchers.
  5. To compare long-term health and joint outcomes of professional baseball pitchers to comparable professional athletic populations.

This research project will require preceding professional baseball contacts that can be utilized for this investigation.  This study will use a range of epidemiological and statistical techniques using data collected from professional baseball cohorts and data sets from previous studies available to the supervisor.

Recommended Reading

  1. Posner M, Cameron KL, Wolf JM, Belmont PJ, Jr., Owens BD. Epidemiology of Major League Baseball injuries. Am J Sports Med. 2011;39(8):1676-1680.
  2. Conte S, Camp CL, Dines JS. Injury Trends in Major League Baseball Over 18 Seasons: 1998-2015. Am J Orthop (Belle Mead NJ). 2016;45(3):116-123.
  3. Wilk KE, Macrina LC, Fleisig GS, Porterfield R, Simpson CD 2nd, Harker P, Paparesta N, Andrews JR. Correlation of Glenohumeral Internal Rotation Deficit and Total Rotational Motion to Shoulder Injuries in Professional Baseball Pitchers. American Journal of Sports Medicine. 2011;39(2):329-335.
  4. Jones ME, Davies MA, Leylan KM, Delmestri A, Porter A, Ratcliffe J, Peirce N, Newton JL, Arden NK.  Risk of Osteoarthritis and Other Long-Term Health Outcomes in Former English Cricketers.  Osteoarthritis and Cartilage: Supplement. 2017;25(1): S195-S196.
  5. Arnold JB, Walters JL, Ferrar KE.  Does Physical Activity Increase After Total Hip or Knee Arthroplasty for Osteoarthritis? A Systematic Review.  J Orthop Sports Phys Ther.  2016;46(6):431-42.


The department accepts applications throughout the year but it is recommended that, in the first instance, you contact the relevant supervisor(s) or the Graduate Studies Officer ( who will be able to advise you of the essential requirements.

Interested applicants should have or expect to obtain a first or upper second class BSc degree or equivalent, and will also need to provide evidence of English language competence. The University requires candidates to formally apply online and for their referees to submit online references via the online application system.

The application guide and form is found online and the DPhil or MSc by research will commence in October 2018.

When completing the online application, please read the University Guide.

Project reference number #NDORMS-2018/4


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