A Sheffield Shield match held on 25th November 2014 witnessed an unfortunate event, that shook the world of cricket. At the Sydney Cricket Ground, Philip Hughes was unbeaten at 63. On the 161st ball of his innings, Hughes was struck on the neck behind the head due to a miscued error. The incident proved to be fatal, as the impact caused his vertebral artery to split open, leading to a subarachnoid haemorrhage. Hughes never regained consciousness and passed away three days later.
The incident caused ripples across the cricket fraternity, with many players calling out for better protective equipment. Modifications have been made in the helmet and a few additional rules were introduced. One such rule is the concussion substitute.
According to the International Cricket Council’s law, if a player is struck on the head or neck, then he or she must mandatorily undergo a concussion test that is done by the team’s medical representative. If the medical representative suspects a concussion or diagnoses a concussion, then that player will be replaced by another player who can also bat, bowl and field. However, the player who has been replaced can no longer be a part of the game.
Unlike normal substitutes, the concussion substitute can bat, bowl and field. Hence, the substitution made must be a like-for-like substitution. This means that if the concussed player is a bowler, then only a bowler can replace the player and not a batter.
Off the field, the team’s management must submit a concussion replacement report to the match referees within 36 hours. Moreover, the decision over whether the concussed substitute is a like-for-like replacement is entirely relied on the match referee and no appeals are allowed.
The performance of the concussion substitute and the player replaced continues to be a part of their statistical records.