Cricket helmet manufacturers say accidents will happen

Reports from Cricket retailer Chris Taylor earlier this week as Phil Hughes remained in intensive care, although the 25-year-old has since tragically died

Australia batsman Phil Hughes is in intensive care and on life support in an induced coma after being struck on the head by a bouncer in a Sheffield Shield match. Photograph: Nick Potts/Pa

Australia batsman Phil Hughes is in intensive care and on life support in an induced coma after being struck on the head by a bouncer in a Sheffield Shield match. Photograph: Nick Potts/Pa

 

Cricket helmet manufacturers are doing all they can to prevent head injuries in the sport, according to a former player who now works as a leading equipment retailer.

Australia batsman Phil Hughes is currently in intensive care in a Sydney hospital (he tragically passed away on Thursday morning) after being hit by the ball while playing in a Sheffield Shield game.

The South Australia opener, according to Cricket Australia, was “struck on the back, lower left side of the head when he turned away as he followed through with an attempted pull-shot to a regulation short-pitched delivery from young NSW quick Sean Abbott”.

Pictures from the Sydney Cricket Ground also show the ball hitting Hughes in that place, and as the 25-year-old fights for his life, questions are now being asked about player safety.

Little can be done

But according to Chris Taylor, the former Yorkshire batsman who now runs leading retailer All Rounder Cricket in Leeds, little can be done to protect that area of the body.

“I know cricket manufacturers and helmet manufacturers are working all the time to improve the safety of helmets and I know a new British safety standard has been launched in the UK for the 2015 season where helmets have to have fixed grills,” Taylor, a former England Under-19 international said.

“I guess it’s part of the job, at some stage somebody is going to hit on the head. The helmet doesn’t protect all of the head, there’s a gap for your eyes, there’s a gap where your neck is, so you have to expect some blows at some stage and this is very unfortunate for Phil Hughes.”

Impractical

Simply extending the helmet so that it covers the neck is impractical, Taylor believes.

“Once the helmet starts trying to cover the neck as well, if that’s where Phil Hughes has been hit, it’s going to restrict your movement as a batsman,” he added.

“You need to be able to move quickly so if it’s restricting your head and your neck, we could get to the stage where you just wear full body armour because at the end of the day you can get a blow on your chest that can cause you serious problems.

“My understanding is it’s hit him at the worst possible place at the wrong angle and it is extremely unlucky.”

Accidents will happen

England and Wales Cricket Board guidelines stipulate that helmets should be worn by all batsman under the age of 18, while senior players rarely revert to age-old traditions of batting in caps.

Taylor insists that all the relevant bodies are working hard on safety, but that from time to time accidents will happen.

“I work closely with some of the helmet companies and they are always working, they have to achieve this British safety standard,” he said.

“There comes a stage when you can’t protect any more of the body without being unable to move. I know the ECB has taken steps forward but it’s part of the game, but you’ve got to be able to move so what lengths do you go to in order to cover a person’s body?”

Hughes was batting while wearing a helmet made by Masuri and the company has said it will be releasing a statement later on Tuesday.

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