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Concussion Specialist Recommends Banning Bouncers For U-18 Cricketers

The recent spate of cricketers diagnosed with concussion after copping blows to helmet/head has given rise of a raging debate.

Published: January 25, 2021 4:31 PM IST

By Sports Desk | Edited by Feroz Khan

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There's a raging debate over whether time has come to ban bouncers (© IANS)

A concussion specialist has recommended the ban of bouncers, at least in the underage cricket tournaments to avoid long-term problems. The recent spate of cricketers diagnosed with concussion after copping blows to helmet/head has given rise of a raging debate over whether the time has come to ban bouncer from the game altogether.

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Those in support of the ban cite the safety of players involved while those who oppose reason that the game is already heavily titled towards batsman and taking away bouncer will rob bowlers of an effective weapon. The Marylebone Cricket Club (MCC), the custodians of the game’s laws, have started a consultation process to discuss if the short-pitched deliveries should be deemed illegal.

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Michael Turner, media director of the International Concussion and Head Injury Research Foundation, reckons that the brain should not be subject to concussion at least when it’s still evolving. “You want to avoid concussing the adolescent brain while it’s still evolving. You want to avoid concussions at any stage, but it’s particularly bad for youngsters,” Turner told The Telegraph.

“If stopping concussion in this age group means changing the rules to ensure that there are no short deliveries in junior cricket, this should be a serious consideration by those in authority,” he added.

The tragic incident of Australia batsman Phil Hughes dying after being hit on the back of the neck during a domestic competition is cited as the prime example of the dangers the controversial delivery poses. More recently, upcoming Australia batsman Will Pucovksi had to miss the the first two Tests against India last year due to concussion after being hit on the helmet during a practice match against the visiting Indian team.

Turner said helmets cannot prevent concussion.  “Helmets are designed to prevent skull fracture but do not stop concussion. The way forward is to prevent concussion taking place – by changing the rules if necessary,” he reasoned.

“The outcome is likely to be more severe in younger brains. The evidence is that the younger you are when you get a concussion, the more likely you are to have long-term problems with it. Your brain is still developing up until your early 20s. And so concussion in the developing brain tends to have a worse outcome than one in an adult brain,” he added.

He suggests players below 18 years of age should get an informed consent from their parents.

“Under the age of 18 an adult has to take responsibility for the welfare of the people taking part,” he said.

“Once you have had a concussion, the long-term outcome cannot be assessed or reversed. Your fate is sealed as soon as the concussion occurs. Once individuals reach 18 and become adults, they are free to make their own decisions and assess the risks they are prepared to take,” he added.

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Published Date: January 25, 2021 4:31 PM IST