‘Captain Courageous’ out with post-concussion syndrome

2013-11-07 00:00

FOUR years ago South African Test captain Graeme Smith earned the nickname “Captain Courageous” for batting with a broken hand in an unsuccessful bid to save a Test against Australia.

This time, however, the Proteas are not taking any chances and have ruled Smith out of the remainder of the on-going series against Pakistan with post- concussion syndrome.

Smith was hit on the right side of the head by a vicious Mohammad Irfan delivery on the second day of the second Test between the sides on October 24.

While he initially displayed no symptoms of concussion, his condition became worrying seven days later, during the second ODI of the current five-match series on Friday.

“At the time [during the Test match], Graeme felt fine except for a slight headache, and the tests we did suggested he could keep playing,” Proteas team doctor Mohammed Moosajee said yesterday.

“But during the second ODI in Dubai, Graeme complained of feeling unsteady on his feet. He had headaches, dizziness and blurred vision, and cognitively he was having difficulty concentrating.

“From a medical point of view, we thought it would be prudent to withdraw him from the rest of the series to give him adequate recovery time.”

Moosajee added that Smith would be out of action for at least two weeks and “maybe longer”.

According to Moosajee, little is known about the causes of post-concussion syndrome.

“It is generally poorly understood,” he said. “It could be due to tiny areas of bruising around the brain or damage to the nerve cells in the brain caused by the initial head injury.”

Cricketer Darryn Randall (32) died during a club match in the Eastern Cape town of Alice two Sundays ago, after he was struck on the head while batting.

Smith’s unavailability, combined with Colin Ingram’s poor form, saw the Proteas open the innings yesterday with the returning Hashim Amla and Lions wicketkeeper/batsman Quinton de Kock.

Smith (32) scored 20 and 14 in the first two ODIs.

He is likely to have recovered in time to play in the shortened India tour, which begins with an ODI at the Wanderers on December 5.

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