Report into Hughes' death recommends more use of helmets

May 11, 2016

MELBOURNE, Australia (AP) A Cricket 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 Wednesday by David Curtain, president of the Australian Bar Association, also recommends helmets be mandatory for fielders close to the pitch.

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

The review said Hughes, who played 26 tests for Australia, received medical help 42 seconds after being struck by the delivery from New South Wales paceman Sean Abbott.


''I do not believe any lack of medical attention contributed to Phillip's death,'' Curtain said in his report.

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 English 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 executive James Sutherland said the national 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,'' Sutherland said. ''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.''

Fielding substitutes are already allowed for injured players.

Batsmen who are injured during the course of an innings can retire and resume later if they regain fitness. However, there is no direct substitute and the injured player is simply replaced at the crease by the next batsman in the order, and the injured player is effectively out if he cannot resume.

A concussion substitute could allow a 12th man to bat while the injured player is unavailable.