(CNN) — The ball crunched from the Australian cricketer’s forearm. Shortly after, another rocketed into Steve Smith’s neck — just below his left ear — poleaxing the Aussie batsman.
Unflappable, unwavering and unflustered — since he had been during this Ashes series — Smith had appeared on track for tis third consecutive century Saturday earlier, beneath a muddy, gray skies, England fast bowler Jofra Archer began to unsettle the 30-year-old Australian.
Throughout a fiery spell which included a delivery clocked at 96mph, both Archer and Smith moved toe-to-toe enjoy a few heavyweight boxers in a contest that had viewers gripped.
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A race to become healthy
Scans later showed no fracture to Smith’s arm but the 92mph bouncer which cannoned into the Australian’s throat proven to have had a more lasting impact.
Back in the changing room, Smith was initially put through routine evaluations by Australian group physician Richard Saw, along with also the batsman returned into the match Saturday before finally being disregarded for 92.
However, following the close of play on Saturday, Smith complained of migraines and has been then ruled from the remainder of the game on Sunday — Marnus Labuschagne getting the very first concussion substitute at a Test.
The third Test starts on Thursday at Leeds, but the 30-year-old Australian won’t be rushing his return.
“It’s obviously a fast turnaround between Test matches,” Smith said on Sunday.
“I’m going to be assessed over the next five or six weeks, each day a couple of times, to observe how I am feeling and how I’m progressing.
“I’m hopeful I will be available for that Test match, but it is certainly up to the health care team and we will have discussions.
“It’s definitely an area of concern, concussion, and I want to be 100 percent match. I have got to have the ability to train a couple of days outside and then face fast bowling to be certain my reaction time is in place.”
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A dark reminder
The sight of an Australian batsmen lying prone on the floor having been hit by a cricket ball brought back some upsetting remarks to Australian cricket.
At 2014, Australian batsman Phillip Hughes died aged 25, two weeks after being hit in the head by a ball when batting in a domestic game.
Following Hughes’ dreadful passing, modifications were made to protect batsmen, together with stem guards made and created optional for gamers to wear on their helmets.
After not feeling comfortable playing with the guards on his helmet, Smith considers he may have to reconsider his position on them following this recent incident.
“I believe I, along with a couple different players in the team, find it a tiny bit different, embarrassing in contrast to what we’re utilized to,” he explained.
“I believe a tiny bit claustrophobic when it is on. I feel as if I’m enclosed and not overly comfortable.
“It’s definitely something I want to most likely take a look in and possibly try from the baits and see whether I could get a way to get comfy with it.”
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The correct decision
Research carried out by Cricket Australia shows that delayed concussion — in which symptoms don’t develop until several hours after the first blow — occur in approximately 30% of cases.
In the second Test at Lord’s, three players had been hit on the mind and Smith had been the only player to suffer a concussion.
And given just around 20% of head impacts in cricket lead to a concussion, Alex Kountouris, Cricket Australia’s manager of sports medicine, considers removing a player from the game each time they were struck in the head would be unnecessary.
“The truth is simply about one in five or six head impacts end up in concussion,” Kountouris stated in a media conference in Australia on Monday.
“When we pulled out each participant who had a direct impact, we’d be pulling out 80 percent of players who do not have a concussion and taking them out of this game. So that will be an overreaction.
“If you have a take a look at that game, there have been three other mind impacts and just Steve needed a concussion.
“He didn’t have a concussion at the time (he was hit) so he had been allowed to play. If we took him out of this game, we’d have been leaving him out of the game for no reason other than that which we found on the field.”
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Kountouris also stated that he was”100 percent” satisfied by Dr. Saw’s therapy of Smith.
“At the close of the day, our physician pulled him out of day five of the Test match, which was a pretty critical part of the game,” he explained.
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“Our physician is an expert in his area, he’s educated to pick up even the small signs of concussion.
“(He) has been brilliant. Everything he did was based on the routine, he had been quite thorough, and we know he’s very thorough. We’re 100% happy with what happened over there.”
Australian direct the series 1-0.
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