The debate over how to make cricket helmets safer for batsmen has been a growing concern ever since the death of Australian and South Australian batsmen Phillip Hughes last year.
Masuri, the British-based helmet designers, believe they have developed a solution that will prevent another incident, similar to that of Phillip Hughes’, occurring again.
Hughes was struck at the back of the head by a bouncer from New South Wales fast bowler Sean Abbott in a Sheffield Shield match in Sydney and collapsed immediately from the blow.
The 25-year-old died just two days later in hospital shocking the Cricket World in the process.
Masuri’s ‘stemguard’, as it is being called, is designed to protect the batsmen at the back of the head where the helmet does not extend to.
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Criticism of current helmets has pointed to this area as problematic but it would be almost impossible to extend the helmet itself due to the restriction of movement that this would cause, which could be even more dangerous if a player is unable to move out of the way of an oncoming cricket ball.
The stemguard will be made up of a mixture of foam and rubber that clips to the back of the helmet and is designed to absorb the impact of a cricket ball.
Although Hughes’ death was described as a freak incident it was, nonetheless, an incident that did occur so it is paramount that it does not happen again. Therefore the cricketing authorities are urging players to take the best possible precautions for their own safety. However, the desire to wear this type of helmet is down to the individual and will not be forced upon players.
Masuri are looking to introduce the helmet very soon, with a patent for the product already pending, so expect this new design to be available to buy before the new English season gets underway.
Other redesigns expected
Masuri are setting the pace in the redesign of helmets and expect other companies to follow suit very soon as the clamour to make the game a safer sport, following Hughes’ death, becomes a necessity. Unfortunately it has taken the death of a well-loved player to prompt this action.
Whilst Cricket is a very dangerous sport and batsmen cannot be totally protected from physical danger we must remember that fatalities as the direct result of a cricket ball are very rare.
Despite Cricket having a very good safety record in recent years one incident is one too many so any advances in safety should be welcome by all involved in the game.
Hopefully the price of helmets will not deter cricketers, particularly recreational ones, from purchasing what could be a potentially life-saving piece of equipment. Cricketers have no problem in purchasing the latest bats and other equipment for a higher price so, in terms of their own physical well-being, they should not put their lives in danger at the expense of the latest, trendy bat.