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October 2021

Cricket with a creaky back.

Q&A with Brett Randell on playing pro cricket with arthritis.

Lower back pain in professional cricket. Brett Randell tell us how Myovolt is helping him with arthritis.

Myovolt has recently been the go-to prehab and recovery technology for New Zealand's Black Caps cricketers including Ish Sodhi, Hamish Bennett, Hamish Rutherford and Finn Allen. We've been helping them with lower back pain issues, very common in cricket, caused by repetitive strain injury particularly from the action of bowling. For elite athletes, the pressure to stay on top of your game places extreme demands on the body and cricket is no exception.

One professional cricketer who knows more than most about this problem is Brett Randell who plays for the Northern Districts Team in New Zealand. We recently had the opportunity to talk to Brett about how he trains and competes at a professional level in cricket while managing rheumatoid arthritis in his lower back.

The repetitive nature of the throwing and bowling actions, together with long periods of play, place cricketers at risk of a range of injuries, with bowlers in particular being susceptible to back injury. As with any elite sport, the pressure to train harder, longer and start earlier in life equally applies to cricketers, with many getting into the sport from an early age at school.

For Brett Randell, the cricket bug bit hard. He was three years-old when his father brought home a cricket set for the youngster, and despite taking a ball to the mouth when his uncle lobbed one at him during their backyard game – a proper cricket ball that can knock the senses out of you – Brett still plays cricket 23-years later.

The bug bit him hard enough that not even being diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis as a young teen would stop him from becoming pro, when he received his first contract with Auckland in 2015 at age 19.

“The year after that, I moved to Northern Districts and then in February 2017, aged 21, I made my debut in One Day and First-Class cricket.” Brett tells us, outlining his cricketing career so far. “Then I made my T20 debut in December 2017, and I’ve been contracted with the Northern Districts ever since.”

Considering that arthritis came in rudely to try and ruin his dream, Brett’s achievements are definitely hard earned. Wanting to learn more about how he manages to perform at a high level despite battling with the disorder in his lower back, we asked Brett about his diagnosis and treatment of the issue.

“The problem first popped up in February 2013. I was playing cricket on Waitangi Day and bowled around 20 overs – many of which I was tasked with bowling around the wicket and bowling short in order to upset the batsman.” He explains. “After my spell, I felt some discomfort in my right glute, which I initially thought would go away overnight. But by the time I turned up to training the next day, I couldn’t even run in to bowl. Then the next day I could barely walk, so I booked a session with my physio. It took about five months of treatment before the arthritis was finally discovered and diagnosed.”

To figure out what was going on, Brett had two sets of x-rays, a bone scintigram, and an MRI, and saw multiple sports doctors, and with their help he was able to get back to business.

“Once I got back into training, my body took massive strides and I was able to play in the Under 19 World Cup in the UAE in February 2014.” Brett says proudly before his story takes a U-turn.

“Unfortunately, given my university workload, I neglected my training in the next two years and basically took a step backwards. During my contract year with Auckland, I was in pain the whole season and sat out multiple games due to discomfort. I then spent three and a half years playing seasons in NZ and in the UK, so I was able to understand what it would take for me to play as a pro with arthritis.”

“Myovolt has helped me so much. I can use the tech for 10 minutes before I bowl, and for 10 minutes after. I feel amazing the next day.”

Managing muscle and joint health.

To further our knowledge on the subject of arthritis and its effects on cricketers, we consulted biokineticist to many sports pros, Dr Phil Nel.

“Arthritis is a term referring to a disorder affecting joints and is often triggered over time when joints have sustained either acute or chronic trauma.” Dr Phil says “The symptoms associated with arthritis include redness, warmth, swelling, pain and decreased range of motion.”

Phil explains that “Sport participants are at increased risk of joint pain and osteoarthritis, and professional athletes are off course at a much higher risk. I always tell my pro athlete patients that elite sport is not ‘normal’. Putting the body through such extremes is intense and eventually something has to give. That is often linked to osteoarthritic joint injuries, which effects performance and – in more extreme cases – not even being able to play, leading to retirement as a professional.”

The possibility of having your career cut short by general wear-and-tear or serious injury must keep professional cricketers up at night. For Brett his own diagnosis must have given him nightmares. We asked Phil about the average retirement age of professional cricketers.

“If you take the 2020 Indian Premier League as an example then the typical mean retirement age is around 27 years-old. Saying that, there were many super stars on the older scale like Dale Steyn (37), Chris Gayle (46), Lasith Malinga (36) and Imran Tahit (41).”

With the increase in focus around strength and conditioning, the retiring age for cricketers is slowly increasing.” Brett replies when we ask him the same question. “There are more and more fast bowlers, like myself, around the world that are still playing professional cricket into their late 30s. At the moment, I would like to think that I can play until I’m 35, but if I can stay on top of things regarding my body, I don’t see any reason why I can’t play until I’m 40.” He concludes.

A 2019 study on joint pain and osteoarthritis in 846 former elite and recreational cricketers, found that every second former player experienced joint pain on most days of the last month, and more than one in three had been diagnosed with osteoarthritis. Interestingly, compared with batsmen, bowlers had higher odds of shoulder and back pain, and all-rounders had higher odds of back and knee pain.

October 2021

Cricket with a
creaky back.

Q&A with Brett Randell on playing pro-cricket with arthritis.

Lower back pain in professional cricket. Brett Randell tell us how Myovolt is helping him with arthritis.

Myovolt has recently been the go-to prehab and recovery technology for New Zealand's Black Caps cricketers including Ish Sodhi, Hamish Bennett, Hamish Rutherford and Finn Allen. We've been helping them with lower back pain issues, very common in cricket, caused by repetitive strain injury particularly from the action of bowling. For elite athletes, the pressure to stay on top of your game places extreme demands on the body and cricket is no exception.

One professional cricketer who knows more than most about this problem is Brett Randell who plays for the Northern Districts Team in New Zealand. We recently had the opportunity to talk to Brett about how he trains and competes at a professional level in cricket while managing rheumatoid arthritis in his lower back.

The repetitive nature of the throwing and bowling actions, together with long periods of play, place cricketers at risk of a range of injuries, with bowlers in particular being susceptible to back injury. As with any elite sport, the pressure to train harder, longer and start earlier in life equally applies to cricketers, with many getting into the sport from an early age at school.

For Brett Randell, the cricket bug bit hard. He was three years-old when his father brought home a cricket set for the youngster, and despite taking a ball to the mouth when his uncle lobbed one at him during their backyard game – a proper cricket ball that can knock the senses out of you – Brett still plays cricket 23-years later.

The bug bit him hard enough that not even being diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis as a young teen would stop him from becoming pro, when he received his first contract with Auckland in 2015 at age 19.

“The year after that, I moved to Northern Districts and then in February 2017, aged 21, I made my debut in One Day and First-Class cricket.” Brett tells us, outlining his cricketing career so far. “Then I made my T20 debut in December 2017, and ever since, I have been contracted with the Northern Districts.”

Considering that arthritis came in rudely to try and ruin his dream,
Brett’s achievements are definitely hard earned. Wanting to learn more about how he manages to perform at a high level despite battling with the disorder in his lower back, we asked Brett about his diagnosis and treatment of the issue.

“The problem first popped up in February 2013. I was playing cricket on Waitangi Day and bowled around 20 overs – many of which I was tasked with bowling around the wicket and bowling short in order to upset the batsman.” He explains. “After my spell, I felt some discomfort in my right glute, which I initially thought would go away overnight. But by the time I turned up to training the next day, I couldn’t even run in to bowl. Then the next day I could barely walk, so I booked a session with my physio. It took about five months of treatment before the arthritis was finally discovered and diagnosed.”

To figure out what was going on, Brett had two sets of x-rays, a bone scintigram, and an MRI, and saw multiple sports doctors, and with their help he was able to get back to business.

“Once I got back into training, my body took massive strides and I was able to play in the Under 19 World Cup in the UAE in February 2014.”
Brett says proudly before his story takes a U-turn.

“Unfortunately, given my university workload, I neglected my training
in the next two years and basically took a step backwards. During my contract year with Auckland, I was in pain the whole season and sat out multiple games due to discomfort. I then spent three and a half years playing seasons in NZ and in the UK, so I was able to understand what it would take for me to play as a pro with arthritis.”

Myovolt has helped me so much. I can use the tech for 10 minutes before I bowl, and for 10 minutes after. I feel amazing the next day.”

Staying out on the field.

The fast bowler explains that it has taken almost 10 years to figure out how to stay on the field and keep playing at a high level, and that he is improving his training and recovery all the time.

“I take anti-inflammatories every day and have to make sure that I minimise my carb intake and stay warm.” Says Brett. “Carbs and cold cause inflammation, so if I can stay warm, get good sleep and minimise the carbs, I know that I’ve done what I can to prepare well for game day.”

One way that Brett has improved his training and recovery methods is by including Myovolt technology to his routine. “I love it.” Brett pronounces enthusiastically when I ask him about the devices Myovolt offer.

“I was drawn to Myovolt when I saw the back strap on their Instagram.
I've had rheumatoid arthritis in my back for nine years now, and I am constantly looking for ways to help me stay on the field and perform at the highest level. So far, the Myovolt tech has helped me so much. I can use the tech for 10 minutes before and after I bowl, I feel amazing the next day – as if I can do it all over again. This is key to cricket as I often need to bowl every day. I think the vibration tech is amazing and could definitely be utilised more by high performance athletes.”

Professional cricketer Brett Randell uses Myovolt to manage chronic lower back pain from arthritis.

Brett adds the Myovolt Back product to his training kit to manage
his lower back prehab and recovery on-the-go.

Managing muscle and joint health.

To further our knowledge on the subject of arthritis and its effects on cricketers, we talked to Dr Phil Nel, biokineticist to many sports pros.

“Arthritis is a term referring to a disorder affecting joints and is often triggered over time when joints have sustained either acute or chronic trauma.” Dr Phil says. “The symptoms associated with arthritis include redness, warmth, swelling, pain and decreased range of motion.”

Phil explains that “Sport participants are at increased risk of joint pain and osteoarthritis, and professional athletes are off course at a much higher risk. I always tell my pro athlete patients that elite sport is not ‘normal’. Putting the body through such extremes is intense and eventually something has to give. That is often linked to osteoarthritic joint injuries, which effects performance and – in more extreme cases – not even being able to play, leading to retirement as a professional.”

The possibility of having your career cut short by general wear-and-tear or serious injury must keep professional cricketers up at night, and it must have given Brett nightmares. We ask Phil about the average retirement age of professional cricketers.

“If you take the 2020 Indian Premier League as an example then the typical mean retirement age is around 27 years-old. Saying that, there were many super stars on the older scale like Dale Steyn (37), Chris Gayle (46), Lasith Malinga (36) and Imran Tahit (41).”

“With the increase in focus around strength and conditioning, the retiring age for cricketers is slowly increasing.” Brett replies when we ask him the same question. “There are more and more fast bowlers, like myself, around the world that are still playing professional cricket into their late 30s. At the moment, I would like to think that I can play until I’m 35, but if I can stay on top of things regarding my body, I don’t see any reason why I can’t play until I’m 40.” He concludes.

While continuing our cricket chat with Phil, he tells us that in a study done in 2019 on joint pain and osteoarthritis in 846 former elite and recreational cricketers, every second former player experienced joint pain on most days of the last month, and more than one in three had been diagnosed with osteoarthritis. “And interestingly, compared with batsmen, bowlers had higher odds of shoulder and back pain, and all-rounders had higher odds of back and knee pain.” Phil says.

The thing with being a fast bowler is that you have to find some way of managing injury even while still performing at a high level.”

We asked Brett about other injuries that affect him and his teammates. “Apart from the arthritis I haven’t had any major injuries to deal with, thankfully. Most of my injuries in the past have either been muscle strains or tendonitis. My worst injury was a hamstring tendonitis that I had for two years. I couldn’t run properly and it was very noticeable to everyone that something was off. The thing with being a fast bowler though, is that you have to find some way of managing the injury while still performing at a high level.”

During the cricket season, that means performing at a high level two or three times a week, while fitting training and travel into the days in-between. This leaves little time for rest days, and even on these odd occasions, Brett still goes to the gym. “On the rest days or travel days, we go to the gym just to keep the body turning over and maintain our strength and conditioning levels.” he tells us while packing his towel and Myovolt Back into his kitbag.

Clearly its time to go to training and we don’t want to keep him.
But because we always like a happy ending, we ask the Northern Districts pro to describe his dream day of cricket.

“A good day of cricket for me would be a warm day with a light breeze and the captain chooses to bowl first. We then manage to bowl the opposition out just after the tea break – and I take a few wickets, naturally. Then I get to put my feet up and watch my teammates bat for the rest of the day.” Brett muses before signing-off.

Thank you Brett for taking the time to talk and share your amazing story with us. All the best to you and the team for the upcoming cricket season.

Brett uses the Myovolt Back product to manage his lower back prehab and recovery on-the-go.

Staying out on the field.

The fast bowler explains that it has taken almost 10 years to figure out how to stay on the field and keep playing at a high level, and that he is improving his training and recovery all the time.

“I take anti-inflammatories every day and have to make sure that I minimise my carb intake and stay warm” says Brett. “Carbs and cold cause inflammation, so if I can stay warm, get good sleep and minimise the carbs, I know that I’ve done what I can to prepare well for game day.”

One way that Brett has improved his training and recovery methods is by including Myovolt technology to his routine. “I love it.” Brett pronounces enthusiastically when I ask him about the devices Myovolt offer.

“I was drawn to Myovolt when I saw the back strap on their Instagram. I've had rheumatoid arthritis in my back for nine years now, and I am constantly looking for ways to help me stay on the field and perform at the highest level. So far, the Myovolt tech has helped me so much. I can use the tech for 10 minutes before I bowl, and for 10 minutes after I bowl, and I feel amazing the next day – as if I can do it all over again. This is key for my sport as I often need to bowl every day. I think the vibration tech is amazing and could definitely be utilised more by high performance athletes.”

“The thing with being a fast bowler is that you have to find some way of managing injury while still performing at a high level.”

We asked Brett about other injuries that affect him and his teammates. “Apart from the arthritis I haven’t had any major injuries to deal with, thankfully. Most of my injuries in the past have either been muscle strains or tendonitis. My worst injury was a hamstring tendonitis that I had for two years. I couldn’t run properly and it was very noticeable to everyone that something was off. The thing with being a fast bowler though, is that you have to find some way of managing the injury while still performing at a high level.”

During the cricket season, that means performing at a high level two or three times a week, while fitting training and travel into the days in-between. This leaves little time for rest days, and even on these odd occasions, Brett still goes to the gym. “On the rest days or travel days, we go to the gym just to keep the body turning over and maintain our strength and conditioning levels.” he tells us while packing his towel and Myovolt Back into his kitbag.

Clearly its time to go to training and we don’t want to keep him. But because we always like a happy ending, we ask the Northern Districts pro to describe his dream day of cricket.

“A good day of cricket for me would be a warm day with a light breeze and the captain chooses to bowl first. We then manage to bowl the opposition out just after the tea break – and I take a few wickets, naturally. Then I get to put my feet up and watch my teammates bat for the rest of the day.” Brett muses before signing-off.

Thanks Brett for taking the time to talk to us and share your amazing story, all the best to you and the team for the upcoming cricket season.