Concussion in Cricket: Everything you need to know.

The ICC T20 Cricket World Cup has kicked off in the USA and West Indies, thrilling us with every boundary, wicket, and catch. So lets take a look at a crucial and growing aspect of player safety in the sport: concussions.

How common is concussion in cricket?

Concussions in cricket are less frequent than injuries to the hamstring, lumbar spine, and trunk. However, they still occur. Data indicates an annual concussion incidence of 0.9 per 100 players, or 2.3 males and 2.0 females per 1000 days in the elite game.

In England, during the 2023 domestic season, there were 17 reported concussions, each resulting in an average of 10 days lost per concussion.

How do head impacts occur in cricket?

The primary cause of head impacts in cricket is batters being struck by the ball from fast bowlers, accounting for 67% of such incidents. Other causes include close fielders being hit by the ball, collisions with other players or the boundary fence, the head striking the ground, and wicketkeepers being hit by the bat!

Is there a difference in Men’s and Women’s cricket?

Yes, there is a difference. In elite cricket, concussion rates are 0.4 per 1000 player hours for men and 0.5 for women. Interestingly, 53% of head impacts in women’s matches result in concussions, compared to 32% in men’s matches.

What is the impact of concussion in cricket?

Post-concussion, symptoms like balance issues, impaired concentration, and vision problems can affect performance relating to cricket. Repeated head impacts and concussions are linked to chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE), though there are no known cases in cricketers so far.

In 2021, Derbyshire wicketkeeper Harvey Hossein retired from cricket following a series of concussions.

What are the concussion protocols in cricket?

In 2019, the International Cricket Council (ICC) mandated concussion protocols, requiring players to pass a series of assessments before continuing play.

What about concussion substitutes?

Since August 2019, the ICC has allowed concussion substitutes in Test matches. If a player is diagnosed with a concussion, they can be replaced by another player who can fully participate.

Marnus Labuschagne became the first concussion substitute in the history of international cricket, replacing Steve Smith during the Lord’s test of the 2019 Ashes series. He went on to score 59 in the fourth innings to help Australia salvage a draw.

What are the helmet regulations?

Modern cricket helmets are designed to offer enhanced protection but cannot eliminate concussion risk entirely. Helmets must comply with the British Standard BS7928:2013, a mandate from the ICC to improve player safety. The introduction of neck guards has also been developed which have now been mandated by both Cricket Australia and the ECB.

What are the guidelines at an amateur club or school?

While elite teams have trained medical staff to manage head impacts, concussions also occur at the community level. In Australia, 28% of cricket-related hospital admissions were as a result head injuries.

Research indicates that players often lack awareness about guidelines, testing, and helmet regulations, highlighting the need for ongoing education. Australian Guidelines now recommend clubs and schools appoint a concussion officer to manage concussions.

How can Your Brain Health help?

Your Brain Health offers education on concussion, including the online Level 1 course “Concussion – Are You Ready?” This 45-minute course is designed for those at elevated risk of concussion or who wish to become designated concussion officers.