Safety comes first says Angelo Mathews
Recent high-profile cricket injuries (the most recent being of former Australian captain Steven Smith in the ongoing Ashes series and Darren Bravo in the recently concluded Test between West Indies and India) have inspired Dulan Kodikara, a PhD student and a Sri Lankan physio, who is now based in Australia, to evaluate the use of helmets and neck protectors.
Speaking exclusively over telephone from Australia, he said, “what we know at present is that stem guards / neck guards can minimise head/ neck injuries and certainly can prevent catastrophic injuries in cricket”.
However, he adds further, “there are inconsistencies in manufacturing material among different helmet makers. We don’t know yet which is the best suited material for neck/stem guards in terms of maximum safety, durability, player comfort”.
“We also need to test how making neck/stem guards compulsory would affect the overall performance of a cricketer. Also, when it comes to purchasing these neck/stem guards the high cost has been highlighted by many players as a concern”, he added further.
Apparently, there is no compulsion on Sri Lankan and New Zealand players for the use of stem guard (neck protectors). However, several players, when approached by this reporter confirmed having been using.
Dimuth Karunaratne (Test and ODI captain) :- “Yes, there is no compulsion but few of our players use neck protector. I am not sure which players use it but I definitely use it”.
Angelo Mathews: – “Safety comes first and I don’t miss it using it. Why should we compromise with the safety?”
Dinesh Chandimal: – “I am using the stem guard and have seen many of us are using it”.
Interestingly, the Masuri StemGuard was reviewed on Channel 9 in Australia after being worn for the first time by Kumar Sangakkara.