An independent report into the death of former Australian Cricket player Phillip Hughes has called for first class cricketers to use the highest British standard helmet, despite declaring a higher standard helmet or neck guard would not have prevented Hughes’ injuries.
The report, undertaken by President of the Australian Bar Association and Former Chairman of the Victorian Bar, Council David Curtain QC, found all first class cricketers should be required to wear a helmet against fast or medium paced bowling during practice and matches.
University of Wollongong Cricket Club secretary Ryan Kiddle said helmets would limit the risk of injury to cricketers, but players should be allowed to decide whether to use them.
“Overall safety is paramount to all players and in a world where risk always need to be assessed to ensure the protection of everyone involved in the game, helmets do help to limit the risk of injury or even death in this instance,” he said.
“Without making regulations that make the game a nanny state, one way to limit risks is the measures they have suggested,” Kiddle said.
“As a player I believe you should have the choice as to whether you want to wear one. I personally do anyway – however I am not wearing one thinking I am going out to bat and going to get hit in the head or be injured.”
Hughes was wearing a Masuri protective helmet, which was compliant with the Australian standard but not the more recent British standard helmet, which has a face-protector grill that extends to the rear of the helmet.
Wingello Tigers Cricket Club first grade player Rod Eirth said helmets should not be a mandatory.
“The advancements in technology have changed a lot over the years since helmets started to be used and they will continue to change,” he said.
“Anything that reduces risk factors in helmet design can only be a good thing for the game so we never see an incident like what happened to Phil Hughes again. Again, that said, cricketers should still be able to choose if they want to wear one.”.
A study published in 2013 by the British Journalist Sports Medicine analysed batting helmet injuries sustained between 2003 and 2013 and found that 53 per cent of injuries happened after ball impact to the helmet faceguard and peak, or the faceguard alone.