Cricket Aus­tralia tries to avoid an­other tragedy

Cricket Aus­tralia re­leases re­port find­ings af­ter Philip Hughes’ death

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ACricket Aus­tralia re­view into the death of Phillip Hughes rec­om­mends that all first-class crick­eters should be en­cour­aged to wear hel­mets when bat­ting in nets or games against pace bowl­ing.

The re­port re­leased by David Cur­tain, pres­i­dent of the Aus­tralian Bar As­so­ci­a­tion, also rec­om­mends hel­mets be manda­tory for field­ers close to the wicket.

But it stopped short of mak­ing it com­pul­sory for hel­mets to have clipon guards at the rear of the hel­met, which were used fre­quently af­ter Hughes was struck while bat­ting for South Aus­tralia on Novem­ber 25, 2014 at the Syd­ney Cricket Ground. He died two days later.

The re­view said Hughes, who played 26 Tests, re­ceived med­i­cal help 42 sec­onds af­ter be­ing struck by the de­liv­ery from New South Wales fast bowler Sean Ab­bott.

“I do not be­lieve any lack of med­i­cal at­ten­tion con­trib­uted to Phillip’s death,” said Cur­tain.

An emer­gency MediCab was at the scene within three min­utes of him be­ing struck by the ball at the rear of his neck. Hughes re­ceived at­ten­tion from Cricket Aus­tralia’s chief med­i­cal of­fi­cer, Dr John Or­chard, and in­ten­sive care spe­cial­ist Dr Tim Stanley, who was at the SCG as a spec­ta­tor, be­fore an am­bu­lance ar­rived at the ground 20 min­utes af­ter the in­ci­dent.

The Cur­tain re­view rec­om­mended all first-class crick­eters wear hel­mets made to Bri­tish safety stan­dards while bat­ting against medium or fast bowl­ing, in nets and games.

Close-in field­ers, ex­cept those in slips, should also be com­pelled to wear hel­mets and wick­et­keep­ers don pro­tec­tive eye­wear and head pro­tec­tion while stand­ing up to the stumps.

Cur­tain’s re­port found while Hughes was wear­ing a hel­met that met Aus­tralian stan­dards at the time, the pro­tec­tive de­vice didn’t meet the more re­cent Bri­tish stan­dard which ex­tends the face-grill fur­ther to the rear of the hel­met.

But he said even if Hughes was wear­ing the UK stan­dard hel­met, it wouldn’t have saved him given the na­ture of the blow he sus­tained.

Hughes, 25, died from a basal sub­arach­noid hem­or­rhage caused by the blow. He never re­gained con­scious­ness in a nearby hos­pi­tal af­ter fall­ing to the ground mo­ments af­ter the ball struck him.

Cricket Aus­tralia chief James Suther­land said the body would con­sider adopt­ing the re­port's pro­posal of al­low­ing short-term con­cus­sion sub­sti­tutes so that play­ers hurt dur­ing a match can be as­sessed.

“One of the fun­da­men­tals of cricket is it’s a game of 11 play­ers and a sub­sti­tute has not been al­lowed in the past,” said Suther­land.

“The fun­da­men­tal is­sue here is the de­sire for med­i­cal staff to have the ul­ti­mate say in an in­ci­dent of con­cus­sion. It’s also about some of the fun­da­men­tals in terms of how the game is played and has al­ways been played.”

Hel­mets should be manda­tory for field­ers close to the pitch – DAVID CUR­TAIN’S RE­PORT

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