Cricket mourning tragic passing of talented Hughes

Phil Hughes

Today, the world of cricket received the news they feared most. Philip Hughes, aged 25, had lost his battle for life just two days after being placed in intensive care playing in the sport he loved most.

The Australian opening batsman had been 63 not out during a Sheffield Shield match in Sydney, before he was struck on the back of the head attempting to dodge a bouncer from Sean Abbott.

Hughes was airlifted to St Vincent’s Hospital after receiving medical attention at the Sydney Cricket Ground, but unfortunately never regained consciousness before sadly passing away.

Australia captain Michael Clarke read out a statement on behalf of the Hughes family at the Sydney hospital, where the player, who would have been 26 on Sunday, was being treated.

“We appreciate all the support we have received from family, friends, players, Cricket Australia and the general public,” Clarke read on behalf of both parents Greg and Virginia, sister Megan and brother Jason.

“Cricket was Phillip’s life and we as a family shared that love of the game with him. We would like to thank all the medical and nursing staff at St Vincent’s Hospital and Cricket New South Wales medical staff for their great efforts with Phillip.

“We love you.”

The harrowing news is a stark reminder to the dangers that remain in cricket, despite the growing impetus on protection.

Hughes had been wearing a helmet at the time of the incident, but that alone does not ensure full protection as Abbott’s bouncer caught the back of his head.

The 25-year-old appeared hurt, but it was not until he collapsed face first to the ground that the severity of his fatal injury was known.

Speaking at the same press conference as Clarke, Australia team doctor Peter Brukner elaborated on the “rare” injury that took the life of a man far too soon.

“He never regained consciousness following his injury on Tuesday,” Brukner conceded.

“He was not in pain before he passed and was surrounded by his family and close friends.

“As a cricket community, we mourn his loss and extend our deepest sympathies to Phillip’s family and friends at this incredibly sad time.

“Cricket Australia kindly asks that the privacy of the Hughes family, players and staff be respected.”

“Vertebral artery dissection is incredibly rare. If you look in the literature, there is only 100 cases reported. There is only one previous example caused by a cricket ball.” Tributes have already begun to pour in from around the world, including from England, where Hughes had previously played for Hampshire, Middlesex and Worcestershire.

Giles Clarke, the England and Wales Cricket board Chairman commented: “He was an extremely popular and hugely respected cricketer in England and Wales not only as a successful tourist with various Australian teams but also as a wonderfully talented county player with Hampshire, Middlesex and Worcestershire.

“He will be missed throughout the world of cricket and today our thoughts are with his family and all those involved in Australian cricket.

Indian legend Sachin Tendulkar, who partnered Hughes in the Indian Premier League, added: “Shocked to hear about Phil. Sad day for cricket. Deepest condolences to family, friends and well wishers. RIP.”

Hughes had been a rising star of Australian cricket having broken onto the scene as a record-breaking 20-year-old in 2009.

Back-to-back centuries in only his second test match saw Hughes become both the youngest since Doug Walters to score a Test century and the youngest player from any country to score a century in both innings of a Test match.

Amid what is such a heartbreaking incident, it is also important a thought is shared for 22-year-old bowler Abbott, who will undoubtedly be plagued with such unfortunate events.

Both had been playing the sport they love at maximum dedication, passion and commitment.

At one end of the crease stood a man, 63 not out, engaged in battle with all New South Wales bowlers who looked to thwart him building a staggering lead for South Australia.

We at WNOL Sport pass on our deepest condolences, not only to the family and friends of Hughes, but also to Abbott.

Picture Credits: Yellow Monkey

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