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The England & Wales Cricket Board (ECB) Science & Medicine Department were the proud recipients of the BMJ's inaugural Sports & Exercise Team of the Year award. There were several initiatives that led to this recognition, however one of the key projects centred on improving batting helmet safety, via successful collaboration with players, coaches, manufacturers and administrators.
The project was initiated in 2008 when the ECB Injury Surveillance Programme documented a series of head and facial fractures suffered by batsmen wearing a helmet. This was somewhat surprising, as head injury had not previously been considered to have a high incidence, or be a major cause of time-loss.1 To gauge whether this was an isolated problem, the medical staffs of all International Cricket Council (ICC) Full Member Nations were asked to share any similar cases. Over 50 head injuries to batsmen suffered while wearing a helmet have since been documented. Examination of video and photographs of the injuries has highlighted common flaws across a number of helmet models.
Specific helmet limitations
A particularly troubling problem is that in several cases severe facial and eye injuries have occurred due to the ball penetrating the gap between the helmet peak and faceguard. In some cases, the ball passed unimpeded through to the face, as the …
Contributors CR and MY contributed equally to the paper's intellectual content and both provided final approval of the submitted version.
Competing interests None.
Provenance and peer review Commissioned; internally peer reviewed.