Australian cricketer Phillip Hughes would not have survived if he had been wearing an English helmet when he was hit in the back of the head by a cricket ball in 2014, a new report into the incident has found.
But Cricket Australia is now encouraging cricketers at all levels of the game to wear a neck guard, which can be attached to the back of any cricket helmet.
The English helmet stretches further down the back of a player’s head, but a review written by lawyer David Curtain, which was commissioned by Cricket Australia in the wake of Hughes’ death, found that it would not have stopped the ball from hitting Hughes in the Sheffield Shield game at the Sydney Cricket Ground in November, 2014.
Cricket Australia chief executive officer James Sutherland said authorities were responsible for ensuring players were protected.
“As I said at the time, it was a freak accident but still it was a freak accident too many,” Mr Sutherland said.
“David Curtain’s review is born out of a deep responsibility and obligation to look into the events of the day to understand everything that occurred and then to see what can be done to prevent a similar accident in the future.
“We received David’s review in November last year and since then we’ve had time to consider his recommendations and to discuss recommendations and details with relevant bodies to understand what we can do best to make necessary changes.”
The review found Hughes received an appropriate level of care after he was felled by a bouncer from fast bowler Sean Abbott.
Mr Curtain also found the efficacy of neckguards required further evaluation.
“We’re working hard with various parties to identify design performance and evaluation criteria for helmet neck guards and in the meantime we’re also recommending that players use those neck guards as much as they can,” Mr Sutherland said.
“We’re obviously sending that message to the community as well.”
Perth Cricket Association president Darren Ferdinando said neckguards were available when purchasing a new helmet.
“It’s one of those things that will take time to filter through,” he said.