Respected sports medico John Orchard says cricket should follow the lead of Australia’s football codes and take concussion issues more seriously.
Respected sports medico John Orchard has called for cricket to fall in line with other sports and introduce stricter rules surrounding concussion.
Orchard’s stance comes after South African captain Graeme Smith compiled a Test double century last month before being ruled out with post-concussion syndrome.
The NSW cricket and former Sydney Roosters doctor also wants to revive a debate over allowing substitute players to replace injured players during Sheffield Shield matches.
Smith was hit in the head by a vicious bouncer from Pakistan opening bowler Mohammad Irfan midway through his 10-and-a-half hour innings in Dubai, but recovered to score 234 to lead his side to victory.
He played in the two one-day matches which followed before being ruled out of the remaining three fixtures after suffering headaches, blurred vision and unsteadiness on his feet.
Australia’s major football codes, as well as America’s National Football League, have introduced strict guidelines relating to concussed players and when they are able to resume playing.
By contrast, cricket adheres to the Zurich Consensus – which states “a player with diagnosed concussion should not be allowed to (return to play) on the day of injury” – but does not have it’s own concussion protocols.
“(The Smith situation) is something you don’t like to see, having someone pushing through with a concussion,” Orchard told AAP.
“We now know that’s got potential long-term implications when the footballers do it.
“But in cricket if you feel like you can play, a batsman is going to keep batting because he feels like he’s going to let his team down if they’re playing one short.
“It’s not a strict guideline in cricket because it’s not a common scenario.
“But it’s a recommendation for all sports now, there’s a set of Zurich guidelines that all players who get concussed in a game shouldn’t continue in that game.
“A scenario like (Smith’s) is a technical breach of it but it’s not a breach of the rules of cricket.
“If all sports are having to tighten up how they manage concussion, cricket should be the same.”
Orchard has previously campaigned for cricket to relax it’s substitution laws, arguing that teams should be permitted to have one replacement – who can bat and bowl – to be used in the event a player gets injured during a game.
Last weekend he watched on as Queensland, for the fourth time this year, struggled with a pace attack missing opening bowler Matthew Gale – who injured his knee six overs into the match, putting his side at a serious disadvantage.
The Boxing Day Test last year was marred by similar poor fortune, when Sri Lanka finished the match with just eight batsmen fit to take the crease as they were humiliated by an innings and 201 runs.
“It’s a little bit of a hollow victory if you’re not taking the 20 wickets or anywhere near it because you’ve simply injured your opponents,” Orchard said.