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Safety in focus, one year after Hughes tragedy

On the first anniversary of the tragic death of Australian batsman Phillip Hughes, questions are being asked whether cricket administrators have done “everything humanly possible” to ensure player safety.

Hughes, who played 26 Tests, died from bleeding on the brain on November 27 last year after being hit on the base of the skull by a rising ball at the Sydney Cricket Ground during a domestic match.
His death – a freak accident – stunned Australia and the world cricket community, sparking an outpouring of grief.

While Cricket Australia immediately boosted the medical presence at grounds and now requires all players to wear a helmet that meets certain safety standards, Hughes’ long-time coach and mentor Neil D’Costa said he was still not convinced it was enough.

“Safety is our absolute top priority and I’m not sure we’re doing everything humanly possible to honour Phillip’s memory,” he told Thursday’s Sydney Morning Herald. “You can erect plaques, and that’s all nice, but when it’s said and done, are we doing everything we can to make sure it doesn’t happen again to someone’s child?

“That’s the question that needs to be answered. It might be being done, but there’s a lot of us who are not sure if it is.”

Former Australian opener Chris Rogers, who retired following the recent Ashes series after experiencing ongoing symptoms of concussion, said the clip-on neck guard should be made mandatory in all helmet designs.

“The introduction of the neck guard, I think that has been quite big so I do think it should be made compulsory,” he told the newspaper.

“A lot of guys might not feel comfortable wearing it initially, but it’s for the safety of everyone. The laws could be tougher and more stringent.” But former Test wicketkeeper Brad Haddin fells sufficient changes to safety have been made since Hughes’ death. 

“I think Cricket Australia have gone over and beyond to do everything they possibly can in this space so something like this freak accident doesn’t happen again,” Haddin, who was behind the stumps when Hughes was struck, told Sky Sports Radio. 

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