Review Into Phil Hughes’ Death Finds Newer Helmet Wouldn’t Have Saved Him

The findings of an independent review into the death of former Test cricketer Phillip Hughes have been released, and the overall conclusion is that nothing could have prevented this tragedy.

Hughes died in a freak accident November 2014, after a cricket ball struck him in the neck during a Sheffield Shield match and caused his brain to haemorrhage.

The review specifically looked into whether his helmet, a Masuri brand one that has since been withdrawn from sale, contributed to his death; it was compliant with the Australian Standard, but not, as the review points out, the more recent British Standard.

However, the review found that even if Hughes had been wearing the later model (which extends the Stem Guard to the rear of the neck) this accident would still have occurred, as Hughes was struck below the helmet to the left upper side of his neck.

Melbourne barrister David Curtain QC, who chaired the review, said that further evaluation is needed before the newer model becomes mandatory to determine if it increases player safety.

His other recommendations include:

  • All first-class cricketers be compelled to wear helmets when batting fast- or medium-paced bowling in matches and training, as well as all fielders positioned closer to the batter
  • Wicketkeepers be compelled to don protective eyewear, as well as head protection.
  • Defibrillators to be available at all Cricket Australia sanctioned competitions

Cricket Australia CEO James Sutherland said they had been considering Curtain’s recommendations since receiving them last season, with proposals to be discussed at the ICC‘s cricket committee at the end of May.

“We have had ongoing open dialogue with the New South Wales Crown Solicitor and have indicated that we will be as cooperative as possible with any coronial inquest,” he said.

“Never again do we want to see a tragedy of that nature happen on a cricket field and we have shared the findings of this review with the coroner.”

Hughes’ death prompted at outpouring of grief from the cricket community at large, and his funeral shut down his hometown of Macksville.

Source: Daily Telegraph / ABC / Cricket.

Photo: Getty / Robert Cianflone.