Australian cricketer Phil Hughes remains in a critical condition after being hit on the head by a ball, and the incident has already raised questions about the quality of helmet being worn by the 25-year-old.
Hughes, who has won 26 Test caps for the Baggy Green, was playing for South Australia in a Sheffield Shield match against New South Wales when he was struck.
Rushed to hospital
The batsman initially crouched for a moment before hitting the floor face first, and was immediately rushed to hospital where he was placed in an induced coma.
It is now being reported that the ball, bowled by Sean Abbott, missed his helmet and hit the side of his head.
As the world of cricket gathers round Hughes in support, the quality of helmet should be placed under scrutiny. Manufactures have worked on improving players’ safety for a number of years.
Equipment in the spotlight
Whilst it isn’t clear whether the accident could have been avoided, Masuri – the company who created Hughes’ helmet – have vowed to examine the footage more closely to ascertain where exactly he was hit.
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Hughes was wearing the 2013 model of their helmet, though more up-to-date protection equipment has since been made available.
Masuri managing director said in a statement: “We work continuously with the governing authorities worldwide to reduce the risk of injury to players.”
Not enough protection?
However, former Australia team mate Brett Lee insists that at the highest level, accidents cannot be avoided.
“You have guys who can bowl at 150 kilometres per hour – the helmet really isn’t a lot of protection”, Lee told the Daily Mail.
Fellow Aussie Ricky Ponting famously received facial injuries after he was hit by a delivery which wedged itself between the face-guard and the top of the helmet, but the former captain escaped serious injury.
This latest incident is a stark reminder of the importance of player safety, and of the dangers that batsmen face.
Hughes’ family told reporters it could take up to 48 hours to know the results of the surgery.
He has hit three centuries for Australia and has featured in three Ashes series. A statement on Wednesday said he remained in a critical condition.