By Vishesh Roy
Melbourne [Australia], Aug 19 (ANI): CA's Sports Science and Sports Medicine Manager, Alex Kountouris, on Monday shed light on Steve Smith's delayed concussion and explained the cricketing body's concussion protocols.
Smith had to deal with two blows on day four of the second Test match. Firstly he was struck on the elbow by England pacer Jofra Archer and soon after he received a striking blow on the neck by a bouncer bowled by the pacer and he immediately went down.
Physios from both England and Australia attended Smith, but the batsman had to leave the park in order to have a concussion test. A little while later, the batsman made his way back to the crease.
But on day five, Cricket Australia released a statement that Smith had faced delayed concussion and as a result, the batsman was ruled out of day five of the second Test. As a result, Marcus Labuschagne was named as the concussion substitute in place of Smith.
"Yeah, so obviously everyone held their breath when Steve got hit. The doctor went out to the middle immediately and we have a protocol in place. As part of the protocol, the doctor needs to assess the player and then he decides whether the player can stay out in the middle or not. The doctor decided to take Steve off, do a concussion test when the incident happened," Kountouris told reporters.
"Clearly, he did not have a concussion on day four and that is why we decided to let Steve go out to the middle on day four. As part of our actual protocol, we monitor the player through the night. In Smith's case, he developed concussion symptoms the next day and we did the test again, he did not pass the test and that is why Smith was ruled out of day five of the Test match," he added.
On being asked whether delayed concussions are common, the manager said that about 30 per cent of concussions are delayed.
"Yeah, delayed concussions are common. About 30 per cent of concussions are delayed. It is not uncommon and that is why we test the player the next day. Delayed concussions are part of any sport. We just need to monitor them," he said.
He also said that Cricket Australia's doctor Richard Saw is experienced enough to deal with the situation of concussion and that the cricketing body has full faith in the team doctor.
"It's pretty clear for us. We have a doctor there and we have a protocol to follow. The doctor is experienced on how to deal with the situation, he is trained to pick up even the minor symptoms. When the doctor told us Steve does not have a concussion on day four, we believed him," Kountouris said.
The second Test match saw many batsmen getting hit on the head. But, only Smith was struck on the neck whereas the other batsmen were struck on the helmet.
The concussion substitute, Labuschagne, was also struck on the helmet by Archer and the player was then seen having an animated chat with the team doctor.
"You look at the game, only Steve developed a concussion. Steve did not get hit on the helmet, everyone else got hit on the helmet. We do baseline testing and various other tests to deal with a concussion," Kountouris said.
"It's up to the doctor and it is not up to the athlete. We have spent a lot of time on educating the players about concussion. There's a lot of work going on in the matter of concussion at the current time," he added.
On being asked whether Smith will play the third Test match, Kountouris revealed that the player will be undergoing tests a day before the third Test and the doctor will be having a final say on whether Smith plays or not.
"Our doctor is brilliant. He's 100 per cent thorough. I spoke to our doctor this morning, so he told me that Steve was feeling a bit better. He had some scans and he is starting to improve," Kountouris said.
"There's a protocol in place for what happens next. Smith needs to be symptoms free before the third Test. He has got symptoms currently, there's a short time span between the second and third Test, so we will see accordingly," he added.
Smith has been in remarkable form in the ongoing Ashes as he has scored 378 runs in the series so far.
In the first Test, he became only the fifth Australian to register centuries in both innings of Ashes Test. He also surpassed Indian skipper Virat Kohli to become the second-fastest batsman to register 25 Test centuries.
The second Test match between England and Australia ended up as a draw.
England and Australia will next lock horns in the third Test in the ongoing Ashes at Headingley.
After winning the first Test, Australia currently holds a 1-0 lead in the series. (ANI)