Australia team doctor predicts concussion protocol changes


Australia team doctor Peter Brukner has predicted changes to concussion protocols in cricket whereby players leave the field for assessment to head injuries in line with similar rules in AFL and NRL.

The issue of concussion was brought to the fore on day two of Australia's second Test against New Zealand when captain Steve Smith was struck on the helmet by a bouncer from pace bowler Neil Wagner.

Smith went to ground before getting back to his feet and was assessed on the pitch in Christchurch by Brukner and physio David Beakley, but after no obvious signs of concussion were found the skipper was allowed to continue and he went on to make a century.

Further tests were carried out on Smith, and Brukner believes that cricket will move in line with AFL and NRL where players are removed from the field for 20 minutes for assessment.

"There are things we look for, how well orientated they are, how alert they are, and there's standard questions that you always ask automatically," Brukner said after day four of the second Test.

"We took him through those. He answered all those questions perfectly. He seemed quite alert. We kept talking to him in that five minutes and by the end of that five minutes I was comfortable that there was nothing too serious going on.

"There's a lot of things on the table at the moment about concussion subs and all that sort of stuff. It's complicated. I think the football codes feel that 20 minutes is about right.

"It would be nice to take someone off for 20 minutes. I think ultimately something will come in on those lines. I think it's got to, these days.

"The climate is out there and cricket will do it. After that five minutes out there, if I'd had doubts, I'd have said come off - you can have a replacement, it's not as if you can't bat again - come off and we'll do a more thorough assessment.

"There was no indication to me out there that that was required. The next stage is to take them off and fully assess them. But he seemed fine to me, so I felt comfortable to keep him out there."