Steve Smith’s concussion raises troubling memories for Australian cricket

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Steve Smith’s concussion raises troubling memories for Australian cricket

(CNN) -- The chunk crunched against the Australian cricketer's forearm. Shortly after, a second windmill into Steve Smith's neck -- just below his left ear -- poleaxing the Aussie batsman.
Unflappable, unwavering and unflustered -- as he was during this Ashes series -- Smith had seemed on course for tis third consecutive century on Saturday before, under a muddy, grey skies, England fast bowler Jofra Archer began to unsettle the 30-year-old Australian.
Throughout a fiery spell which included a delivery at 96mph, both Archer and Smith went toe-to-toe like a couple of heavyweight fighters at a contest that had viewers gripped.
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A race to be matched
Scans later showed no fracture to Smith's arm but the 92mph bouncer which cannoned to the Australian's throat turned out to have had a more lasting impact.
Back in the changing room, Smith was originally put through routine tests by Australian team physician Richard Saw, along with also the batsman returned to the match Saturday before finally being disregarded for 92.
However, following the close of play on Saturday, Smith complained of headaches and has been subsequently ruled out of the rest of the match on Sunday -- Marnus Labuschagne getting the very first concussion substitute in a Test.
The third Test begins on Thursday in Leeds, however the 30-year-old Australian won't be rushing his return.
"It is obviously a quick turnaround between Test matches," Smith said on Sunday.
"I'm going to be assessed over the following five or five weeks, every day a couple of occasions, to see how I am feeling and how I'm progressing.
"I am hopeful I will be available for that Test match, but it's definitely up to the health care staff and we will have conversations.
"It's certainly an area of concern, concussion, and I want to be 100 percent fit. I have got to be able to train a couple of days out and face fast bowling to be certain my response time is set up."
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A dark reminder
The sight of the Australian batsmen lying prone on the floor was struck by a baseball ball brought back several troubling remarks for Australian cricket.
In 2014, Australian batsman Phillip Hughes died aged 25, two days after being hit in the head by a ball when batting in a domestic match.
Following Hughes' tragic death, changes were made to protect batsmen, with stem guards made and created optional for gamers to wear their helmets.
After not feeling comfortable playing with the guards on his helmet, then Smith considers he might need to reconsider his position on them after this recent episode.
"I believe I, along with a couple different players at the team, find it a little bit different, embarrassing compared to what we are used to," he said.
"I believe just a bit claustrophobic as it is on. I feel like I am enclosed and not too comfortable.
"It is definitely something I need to most likely have a look at and perhaps try from the baits and see whether I could get a way to get comfortable with it."
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The Right decision
Research carried out by Cricket Australia indicates that postponed concussion -- where symptoms do not develop until several hours after the first blow -- occur in approximately 30% of cases.
At the next Test at Lord's, three players had been hit on the head and Smith was the only player to suffer a concussion.
And given just around 20% of head impacts in cricket result in a concussion, Alex Kountouris, Cricket Australia's manager of sports medicine, considers removing a player from the game every time they had been struck in the head could be unnecessary.
"The truth is only about one in six or five head affects end up in concussion," Kountouris stated in a media conference in Australia on Monday.
"If we pulled out every player who had a head impact, we'd be pulling out 80% of players who do not possess a concussion and carrying them from the match. So that will be an overreaction.
"If you take a look at that game, there have been three other thoughts influences and just Steve needed a concussion.
"He did not have a concussion in the time (he was struck ) so he had been permitted to perform. If we took him out of this game, we'd have been leaving him out of the game without any reason other than that which we saw on the field."
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Following protocols
Kountouris also stated he was"100 percent" satisfied by Dr. Saw's therapy of Smith.
"In the close of the day, our doctor pulled him from day five of this Test match, that was a fairly critical part of the game," he explained.
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"Our physician is an authority in his field, he is trained to pick up even the slight signs of concussion.
"(He) has been brilliant. He did was in accordance with this routine, he was very comprehensive, and we understand he is very comprehensive. We're 100% happy with what happened over there."
Australian direct the series 1-0.