Sports medicine is a broad and complex branch of the health care profession. It is a demanding field in medicine providing the health care professional with challenges both on and off the field. The principles of treatment include the maintenance of euphysiological benefits of exercise while attending to the injury with specificity. It is important to treat to the biological as well as the psychological component of the injured athlete. Successful management include early and correct diagnosis, rehabilitation and compliance of the athlete and sports administrators. Despite the advent of technology, a small percentage of athletes are unable to return to sports medicine and it is for this reason that primary prevention is imperative to reduce the incidence of injuries where possible.
Injury prevention can be caused by intrinsic or extrinsic causes. Intrinsic causes include anatomical dysfunction while extrinsic causes are environment factors. Addressing both factors is imperative in reducing injury rates in sports medicine. Categorization of prevention into primary, secondary and tertiary structures is possible.
Primary prevention deals with direct or indirect prevention on an individual basis. An example would be correction of muscle imbalances of the shoulder structure of a bowler in an attempt to prevent shoulder dysfunction.
Secondary prevention deals with preventing injury on a group basis. An example would be educating cricketers to the benefits of warm up, stretching and cooling down in an attempt to reduce musculotendinous injuries.
Tertiary prevention is efforts undertaken by the sports governing bodies in the field of cricket with initiation and implementation of strategies to reduce injuries at a club, provincial and national level. An example include the United Cricket Board of South Africa initiating the production of a proactive guideline policy on educating cricketers, coaches and governing bodies on injury prevention.