Phillip Hughes, an Australian cricket player, recently died after being hit on his neck by a bounced pitch in an ordinary game of cricket. Given the ordinariness of the match, what led to the unordinary death of the 25-year-old beloved cricket player?


While helmets offer protection to the skull, total safety is not guaranteed. An exposed area — below the helmet — on the back of Hughes’ head, left the player vulnerable to the cricket ball –- they normally weigh about 5.6 ounces and travel at speeds over 90 mph.


Safety in sports has certainly come a long way. In fact, the use of helmets has only recently become the norm, in the game of cricket . However, much remains to be done, and Hughes’ lost life proves this.


Australian cricket player Phillip Hughes recently died after a routine match, even though he was wearing a helmet. (

Australian cricket player Phillip Hughes recently died after a routine match, even though he was wearing a helmet. (

Earlier this year, neurosurgeon at St. George’s Hospital in London Dr. Henry Marsh said, “I ride a bike and I never wear a helmet. In the countries where bike helmets are compulsory there has been no reduction in bike injuries whatsoever.”


Indeed, Marsh claimed that bicycle helmets only make issues worse by presupposing to offer safety, and encouraging riskier behaviors. He described the modern obsession with safety equipment as “pornographic.”


Drivers may be more likely to trail closely behind a helmeted bicyclist, assuming that the helmet offers sufficient protection to justify jeopardizing the bicyclist’s safety. Similarly, sports players may be more likely to take more risks on the field, due to the appearance of safety that their gear offers.


In fact, headgear was banned by the International Amateur Boxing Association, on the grounds that the protection offered by safety gear did not outweigh the gear’s encouragement of excessive risk-taking.


Regardless, in a game like cricket, in which balls can fly around unpredictable, safety gear may be necessary. Moreover, safety gear for cricket should be developed further to protect vulnerable areas – especially around the head, where Hughes was struck.


What do you think is the better option: to cut back on safety gear to reduce risk-taking, or to embrace risk-taking and further advance gear to provide increased protection? Let me know in the comments below, or on Twitter @ryanlawlessness