The ECB Board today 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.
The key changes will apply to batsmen facing all types of bowling, wicket-keepers standing up to the wicket and fielders closer than eight yards from the batsman’s middle stump, except behind the wicket on the off side.
ECB is also recommending that all recreational cricketers wear helmets which meet the latest British safety standard from next season.
The use of protective headgear is already mandatory for all Under 18s within the recreational game. Full details and amended regulations will be published in the New Year.
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.
Key measures which ECB has recently taken in this area include:
Forming an ECB Cricket Safety Working Group which reviews risks to safety and the well-being of players and spectators.
Re-defining the role of the ECB Chief Medical Officer to enable greater emphasis to be placed on injury surveillance and research into the safety of the game.
Setting up an Emergency Care Working Group to improve training and provision of emergency care standards at FCCC, Second XI and training venues.
Introducing new concussion guidelines via the ECB’s Sports Science and Medicine department.
The department is also working with Birmingham University to conduct further research into concussion in cricket. Collaborating with the Loughborough Institute of Sport Technology, through sponsorship of a PHD researching helmet design, head injuries and safety in relation to cricket.
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. Today’s decision is a major step forward and will help make First Class cricket safer as well as sending a strong message to the recreational game about the importance of helmet safety.”
PCA Chief Executive Angus Porter said: “We welcome today’s decision on helmet use which is the product of a joint initiative between the PCA and ECB. It provides an excellent opportunity for professional cricketers to lead by example and drive greater awareness of the importance of player safety across the whole game.”