You All Will Be Remembered For Long…
“We’re devastated by the loss of our much-loved son and brother Phillip. It’s been a very difficult few days, we appreciate all the support we have received from family, friends, players, Cricket Australia and the general public. Cricket was Phillip’s life and we as a family shared that love of the game with him. We would like to thank all the medical and nursing staff at St. Vincent’s Hospital and Cricket New South Wales medical staff for their great efforts with Phillip. We love you.”
—Phillip’s Family Statement
A sport whose pillars are values of fair play and sportsmanship was left heartbroken at the loss of one of its favourite sons. Phillip Hughes was only 25 and with any stretch of imagination it was not his age to depart. Sportsmen are anyone’s real-time superheroes, capable of physical wonders before us, seemingly not bound by many of biological constraints. Watching them unleash their natural abilities superbly, excites us. But, when sports become a reason for death nothing is more tragic and its impact is felt universally.
We know there is danger in sports —ducking a cricket ball or driving a Grand Prix car is not just fun (the recent tragic accidents of F-1 drivers Michael Schumacher and Jules Bianchi). Not just in Cricket or F-1, other sports too cause death time and again. Ray ‘Boom Boom’ Mancini was a 21-year-old lightweight world champion when he fought South Korean Duk Koo Kim for his WBA belt in November 1982. A brutal contest ended in the 14th round, when 44 unanswered punches from the American left his opponent on his knees. Kim collapsed in the ring, suffered two blood clots on the right side of his brain and died in hospital four days later. Piermario Morosini, a 25-year-old Livorno midfield collapsed on the field from a heart attack and was later pronounced dead at the hospital.
What can be done?
Round of debates have started up up in Cricketing fraternity about change of laws and protective gears. Many believe that the helmet worn by Hughes was the outdated helmet of UK company Masuri which might be the cause of his death. Experts believe that if he was wearing an Indian brand helmet he might have been saved by the impact of the ball. Helmet manufacturers said the incident could change their design processes, with more emphasis on protection of the neck. Along with that many experts speak in favour of vanishing the bouncers from the game completely, whereas others stood in favour of having a bouncer in an over in ODI’s and two in an over in Test cricket. Amidst all these talks the core committees need to graduate the level of precautionary measures in Sports if they are to stop such incidents in future.
Stay Strong Sean
People do not associate cricket with death and the shocking loss of Phillip Hughes, against all rational expectation, will be the hardest thing for bowler Sean Abbott to deal with. The 22-year-old was doing what he always does for his state New South Wales, bowling fast. It was an accident that Hughes misjudged a pull shot. A broken Sean is getting much needed support worldwide even from Hughes family. Australian captain Michael Clarke and Hughes’ sister Megan went out of their way to spend a significant amount of time with him this week.
HOW & WHEN CRICKET CAUSES DEATH
PHIL HUGHES (AUSTRALIA, 25): 2014 The Australian batsman was struck on the head by a bouncer during a Sheffield Shield match between South Australia and New South Wales. Hughes died of his injuries two days later.
DARRYN RANDALL (SOUTH AFRICA, 32): 2013 Randall was hit on the side of the head when attempting a pull shot in a South African domestic match. The wicketkeeper-batsman collapsed and was immediately rushed to hospital anddied.
ZULFIQAR BHATTI (PAKISTAN, 22): 2013 The Pakistani player was struck in the chest by the ball while batting during a domestic game and fell to the ground. He was pronounced dead on arrival at hospital.
RICHARD BEAUMONT (ENGLAND, 33): 2012 Beaumont collapsed on the field after suffering a suspected heart attack and was declared dead after his arrival to hospital.
ALCWYN JENKINS (ENGLAND, 72): 2009 English umpire Jenkins was officiating a league match when he was struck on the head by a ball thrown by a fielder that hit him accidentally.
WASIM RAJA (PAKISTAN, 54): 2006 Pakistani cricketer Wasim Raja died of a heart attack when playing for Surrey Over 50s in Buckinghamshire.
RAMAN LAMBA (INDIA, 38): 1998 Lamba, a former Indian player, was hit on the head while fielding during a club match in Dhaka. He went into a coma three days later, before being pronounced dead.
IAN FOLLEY (ENGLAND, 30): 1993 Folley was hit by the ball below the eye accidentally while batting in a domestic match for Derbyshire against Workington and suffered a fatal heart attack in the hospital.
WILF SLACK (ENGLAND, 34): 1989 Slack collapsed and died during a domestic match in Banjul, Gambia. He had suffered four blackouts in previous matches.
ABDUL AZIZ (PAKISTAN, 18): 1959 Aziz was hit on the chest while batting in a domestic match in Karachi and was declared dead on arrival at a nearby hospital.
ANDY DUCAT (ENGLAND, 56): 1942 Ducat suffered a heart attack during a game at Lord’s, where he collapses and died.
GEORGE SUMMERS (ENGLAND, 25): 1870 summers was struck on the head while batting for Nottinghamshire against the MCC at Lord’s. He didn’t treat his injury and returned home only to die from its effects four days later.
By Sorabh Aggarwal