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Loughborough University research to inform cricket helmet safety development

Research by Loughborough University’s Sports Technology Institute will continue to shape the development of cricket helmet safety, following a landmark announcement by the governing body for the sport.

The Board of the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) have endorsed changes to the regulations governing the use of helmets across the professional and recreational game.

From next season, all male and female cricketers playing in professional cricket matches will be required to use helmets which meet the latest British Safety Standard.

One of the key measures announced by the ECB is to collaborate with the University’s Sports Technology Institute through the sponsorship of a PhD student to research helmet design, head injuries and safety in relation to cricket.

The Institute has previously informed the new British Safety Standard and supported the development of new-style helmets, with more rigid peaks and grills made from stronger materials, which are now commercially available.

In the most extensive and rigorous testing of its type ever to have taken place, the team simulated the impact on helmets and grills of a ball delivered at speeds that an international fast bowler would be able to achieve.

Dr Ben Halkon from the Sports Technology Institute said:

“We are all about generating knowledge and improving safety in the sport domain, and so are delighted that the ECB will sponsor a PhD student to continue our research in cricket safety, and compare the old and new style of helmets.

“We will carry out a detailed investigation in the differences of the parameters that we can measure whether it is rotational acceleration or pressure between the helmet and head form.

“Also by collaborating with people in the medical community, who can tell us what sort of physical events cause concussion, we can have a really significant impact on improving safety in the sport.”

The changes follow a joint review by the ECB and the Professional Cricketers’ Association (PCA) of existing safety guidance and are designed to reduce the risk of head and facial injuries within the game.

ECB Chief Medical Officer Dr Nick Peirce said:

“We can see from our injury surveillance that cricket is not a dangerous sport in comparison to many other leisure activities. However, as we have seen in recent times, the cricket ball can cause significant injury and it is extremely important that players take the appropriate precautions when batting, keeping wicket or fielding close to the stumps.

“The latest cricket helmets have made significant strides in providing protection against potentially catastrophic injury and we would strongly advise all players to make sure their helmet conforms to the latest British Safety Standard.”

Full details and amended regulations will be published in the New Year.