Steve Smith receives a nasty blow to the back of the head after misjudging a short delivery from Kiwi seamer Neil Wagner and fell on the ground.
As the Australia captain lies motionless, Wagner rushes forward with his heart in his mouth and cricket fans in two nations hold their breath. We do that these days, in the wake of the death of Phillip Hughes, fell to a similar delivery at the Sydney Cricket Ground 14 months ago.
But, Smith back on his feet after lying for a few seconds at the crease and went on to score his 13th Test hundred. He had a couple of mouthfuls water and went back to his crease. Smith did not take much time to get back in the proceedings. He pulled the next ball for four.
The prospect of concussion? It didn’t appear to cross anyone’s mind.
If Smith is a footballer, he would have been taking from the field immediately for a 20-minute concussion Test. If he had been unable to prove beyond that he was free of concussions symptoms, he would not have been allowed to return to the field that day. Probably wouldn’t have been able to play again for a couple of weeks.
But not only was he allowed to bat on, he was applauded for his gutsy attitude. “Shows the character of the bloke, said Wagner. “A hell of a lot of credit to him to take a blow like that and stand up and bat the way he did.”
It was a common sight in AFL, NRL and rugby union matches to see players take heavy hits and stagger from the scene of the impact with wobbly knees, unsure of what country they were in.
Minutes later they were back in the fray, perhaps with the help of smelling salts. And the fact they played on without being able to remember the rest of the game was considered a badge of honour.
A Cricket Australia spokesman said yesterday: “Our medical staff take a very conservative and responsible approach to the treatment of concussion injuries. We have had a concussion policy for some time that gets reviewed regularly to ensure it aligns to best practice treatment.
“Last year CA’s medical staff and doctors from around the country met to review the policy. The outcome of that is that the team doctor has the final say on whether a player takes the field and the player cannot return until they have fully recovered.”
But, the question is why was Steve Smith allowed to bat?
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