(CNN) — The ball crunched from the Australian cricketer’s forearm. Soon after, another rocketed into Steve Smith’s throat just beneath his left ear — poleaxing the batsman.
Unflappable, unwavering and unflustered — since he had been throughout this Ashes series — Smith had appeared on course for tis third straight century Saturday earlier, under a murky, gray sky, England fast bowler Jofra Archer started to unsettle the 30-year-old Australian.
Throughout a fiery spell that comprised a delivery at 96mph, both Archer and Smith moved toe-to-toe enjoy a couple of heavyweight boxers in a competition that had viewers gripped.
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A race to become matched
Scans later revealed no fracture to Smith’s arm but the 92mph bouncer which cannoned into the Australian’s throat proven to have had a much more lasting effect.
Back in the changing room, Smith was originally put through routine evaluations by Australian staff physician Richard Saw, and the batsman returned into the match on Saturday before finally being disregarded for 92.
However, after the end of play on Saturday, Smith complained of headaches and has been then ruled out of the remainder of the game on Sunday — Marnus Labuschagne getting the very first concussion substitute at a Test.
The third Test begins on Thursday in Leeds, however the 30-year-old Australian will not be rushing his return.
“It is obviously a quick turnaround between Test matches,” Smith said on Sunday.
“I’m likely to be assessed within the following five or six weeks, every day a few times, to see how I’m feeling and how I am progressing.
“I am hopeful I will be available for that Exam game, but it’s certainly up to the health care staff and we will have discussions.
“It is certainly an area of concern, concussion, and I need to be 100 percent fit. I’ve got to have the ability to train a few days out and face fast bowling to be certain my response time is in place.”
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A dark reminder
The sight of an Australian batsmen lying prone on the floor was hit by a baseball ball brought back some troubling remarks to Australian cricket.
In 2014, Australian batsman Phillip Hughes died aged 25, two weeks after being hit in the head with a ball when batting in a domestic match.
Following Hughes’ tragic passing, changes were made to protect batsmen, together with stem guards designed and made optional for gamers to wear on their helmets.
After initially not feeling comfortable playing with the guards on his helmet,” Smith considers he might need to reconsider his position on them following this recent incident.
“I think I, along with a few other players at the team, find it a tiny bit different, embarrassing in contrast to what we are used to,” he said.
“I feel a bit claustrophobic when it’s on. I feel as though I am enclosed rather than overly comfortable.
“It is definitely something I need to most likely take a look in and possibly try in the baits and see whether I could find a way to get comfy with it.”
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The correct decision
Research carried out by Cricket Australia shows that postponed concussion — where symptoms do not develop until a few hours after the first blow — occur in approximately 30% of cases.
At the second Test at Lord’s, three players were struck on the head and Smith had been the only player to endure a concussion.
And given just around 20% of mind influences in cricket result in a concussion, Alex Kountouris, Cricket Australia’s manager of sports medicine, considers removing a player from the game each time they had been struck at the head would be unnecessary.
“The truth is simply about one in six or five thoughts impacts wind up in concussion,” Kountouris said at a media conference in Australia on Monday.
“When we pulled out every player who had a head effect, we’d be pulling out 80% of gamers that don’t possess a concussion and carrying them from this game. So that will be an overreaction.
“If you look at that match, there were three other thoughts impacts and just Steve needed a concussion.
“He did not have a concussion at the time (he had been hit) so that he had been allowed to perform. If we took him from this match, we would have been leaving him out of the game without any reason other than what we saw on the field.”
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Kountouris also stated he was”100 percent” fulfilled by Dr. Saw’s therapy of Smith.
“In the conclusion of the day, our physician pulled him from day five of the Test match, that was a fairly critical area of the game,” he said.
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“Our doctor is an authority in his field, he’s educated to pick up the minor signs of concussion.
“(He) has been brilliant. He did was according to this protocol, he had been very comprehensive, and we understand he is very comprehensive. We’re 100% pleased with what happened .”
Australian direct the series 1-0.
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