Boucher ‘had very bad luck’

2012-07-14 19:50

Mark Boucher’s eye injury reads like something from a horror movie script, but could it have been prevented?

Highveld Lions team doctor Jon Patricios believes Mark Boucher’s eye injury is very uncommon and was just a stroke of very bad luck.

Even if he’d been wearing a cricket helmet it would most likely not have prevented the injury.

It’s now feared that Boucher’s vision in his left eye may be lastingly impaired.

Former England wicketkeeper Paul Downton suffered the same fate in a Sunday League match in 1990.

“Mark’s injury is very infrequent. It is impossible to predict whether the use of a helmet would have prevented the injury,” said Patricios.

“A helmet is designed to protect the skull and facial area from a fast-moving ball, not a bail, so the injury could have occurred even if he was wearing a helmet.”

The helmet is a relatively recent phenomenon in cricket.

The first person to use a helmet was Australian opening batsman Graham Yallop in a Test against the West Indies in 1978.

The helmet has developed from an unwieldy, visorless unit to a lightweight and hi-tech must-have in any cricketer’s travel bag today.

Patricios said even though helmet technology has come a long way, improper use of the helmet can still lead to injury.

He explained: “When the helmet is not fitted properly, when the visor is not adjusted properly and when the gap between the peak of the helmet and the visor is too big (it is dangerous),” Patricios said.

“When you look at a loose-fitting helmet case, one can refer to when Dale Steyn broke Craig Cumming’s jaw in 2007. When Rahul Dravid’s facial area was injured in a Test against Bangladesh, that was an example of too big a gap between peak and visor.

“Many batsmen have also felt the brute force of the visor and the ball on their cheeks because of an ill-adjusted visor.”

Patricios said the use of protective glasses, much like the ones used in mechanical workshops, could be alternatives to wearing a helmet, especially in Asian conditions, where temperatures can make donning a helmet unbearable.

“He was not wearing glasses and they could have saved him, but the grey skies in Taunton prevented him from wearing them. Besides being protection from harsh light, sunglasses could also provide protection from the injury he suffered.”

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