Belfast Telegraph

Biting Back: Passion for sport can put us at risk

By Ali Gordon

He was just doing what he loved, doing his job, never once thinking that both his passion and his livelihood could end his life.

But it did.

Cricketer Phil Hughes was struck on the neck by a delivery that caused a vertebral artery dissection, which resulted in a "massive bleed" on the brain.

The talented 25-year-old had been wearing a helmet but the short-pitched ball missed it and he instantly collapsed face-first on the ground.

Heartbreakingly, he never recovered.

What about Sean Abbott though? He just killed a man.

The 22-year-old Abbott was just doing what he loved, doing his job, never once thinking that both his passion and his livelihood could end someone's life.

But it did.

You cannot simply put a time factor on when the young cricketer will recover - if he ever will - but people must commiserate with him too. It could scarily happen to any one of us.

The step up from junior hockey to senior level, like many sports, is huge.

What you once thought was a high or dangerous ball turns out to be nothing at all in comparison to the balls that are launched up and down the pitch at senior level.

An English hockey player, Sam Owens, was induced into a coma at the weekend after being hit on the head by a ball and I couldn't help but think about how easily that could have been me. Both in Owens' position and that of the player who struck him.

With play getting faster and more powerful in all ball sports, unfortunately this seems likely to happen more often. And that's scary.

Belfast Telegraph

Popular

From Belfast Telegraph