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BACKGROUND: Sports participants are faced with the decision to continue or cease play when injured. The implications of playing sport while injured on joint health and health-related quality of life (HRQoL) has not been investigated. The purpose of this study was to investigate the relationship between having played sport while injured and HRQoL, osteoarthritis, and persistent joint pain; and compare findings in elite and recreational cricketers. METHODS: The Cricket Health and Wellbeing Study cohort was used for this study. Inclusion criteria were: age ≥ 18 years, played ≥1 cricket season. Questionnaire data collected included a history of playing sport injured, SF-8 (physical (PCS) and mental (MCS) component scores), physician-diagnosed osteoarthritis, and persistent joint pain (most days of the last month). Multivariable linear regressions and logistic regressions were performed. Continuous covariates were handled using fractional polynomials. Models were adjusted for age, sex, cricket-seasons played, playing status, joint injury, and orthopaedic surgery. All participants (n = 2233) were included in HRQoL analyses, only participants aged ≥30 years (n = 2071) were included in osteoarthritis/pain analyses. RESULTS: Of the 2233 current and former cricketers (mean age: 51.7 SD 14.7, played 30 IQR 24 cricket seasons, 60% were current cricketers, 62% played recreationally; median PCS: 51.4 IQR 9.0; MCS: 54.3 IQR 8.6) 1719 (77%) had played sport while injured. People who had played sport injured reported worse adjusted PCS (Effect(95% CI): - 1.78(- 2.62, - 0.93) and MCS (- 1.40(- 2.25, - 0.54), had greater odds of osteoarthritis (adjusted OR(95% CI): 1.86(1.39, 2.51) and persistent joint pain (2.34(1.85, 2.96)), compared to people who had not played sport injured. Similar relationships were observed regarding PCS, osteoarthritis and pain in elite and recreational subgroups. Playing injured was only related to worse MCS scores for elite cricketers (- 2.07(- 3.52, - 0.63)); no relationship was observed in recreational cricketers (- 0.70(- 1.79, 0.39)). CONCLUSION: Cricketers that had played sport injured had impaired HRQoL, increased odds of osteoarthritis and persistent joint pain, compared to those who had not played sport injured. Playing sport injured was only related to impaired mental-components of HRQoL in elite cricketers. The long-term impact of playing while injured on musculoskeletal health, should be considered when advising athletes on their ability to compete following injury.

Original publication




Journal article


Bmc musculoskelet disord

Publication Date





Former athletes, Mental health, Musculoskeletal health, Recreational sport, Adult, Aged, Arthralgia, Athletic Injuries, Cricket Sport, Cross-Sectional Studies, Female, Humans, Male, Middle Aged, Osteoarthritis, Quality of Life, Surveys and Questionnaires