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Cricket concussion rule on the table


Australia team doctor Peter Brukner expects cricket will soon reform its approach to concussion and adopt a similar system to football codes.

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AFL and NRL players are taken from the field to be assessed for 20 minutes after suffering a head knock.

The process allows medicos to conduct a range of concussion tests, while also reducing the risk of further blows in case of delayed concussion.

Cricket Australia is one of the sport’s leaders on concussion, having adopted a uniform policy last year.

But concussion advocate Brukner believes more can – and will – be done.

“There’s a lot of things on the table at the moment about concussion subs and all that sort of stuff,” Brukner told ESPNcricinfo.

“It’s complicated. I think the football codes feel that 20 minutes is about right.

“It would be nice to take someone off for 20 minutes. I think ultimately something will come in on those lines. I think it’s got to, these days.

“The climate is out there and cricket will do it.”

The issue is in the spotlight again following Steve Smith’s knock to the helmet on day two of the second trans-Tasman Test.

Australian captain Steve Smith lays motionless on the ground after being hit in the head by a ball bowled by New Zealand's Neil Wagner (left) on day 2 of the second Test Match between Australia and New Zealand at the Hagley Oval in Christchurch,  Sundday, Feb. 21, 2016. (AAP Image/Dave Hunt) NO ARCHIVING, EDITORIAL USE ONLY, IMAGES TO BE USED FOR NEWS REPORTING PURPOSES ONLY, NO COMMERCIAL USE WHATSOEVER, NO USE IN BOOKS WITHOUT PRIOR WRITTEN CONSENT FROM AAP

Smith lays motionless after being hit in the head as Wagner rushes to his aid. Photo: Dave Hunt, AAP.

Brukner treated Smith at the time and cleared the skipper to bat out the over.

“If I’d had doubts, I’d have said ‘come off’,” he said.

“You can have a replacement, it’s not as if you can’t bat again – come off and we’ll do a more thorough assessment.

“There was no indication to me out there that that was required.

“He seemed fine to me… he seemed quite alert. We kept talking to him in that five minutes and by the end of that five minutes I was comfortable that there was nothing too serious going on.”

Brukner ruled Chris Rogers out of two Tests in the West Indies last year because of concussion.

The former doctor at English Premier League club Liverpool also forced Rogers to come off the field at Lord’s following a knock to the helmet.

“There are some very clear-cut concussions, they’re knocked out and talking gibberish and so on,” he said.

“There are others who are absolutely fine… and there’s a grey area.

“We would love a test to say, ‘yes that’s a concussion, that’s not a concussion’.”


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