No other sport has inspired so much fine writing as much as cricket has, in both prose and poetry. Taken over by members of the English aristocracy in the 18th and 19th centuries, it was originally a peasant game. Cricket injuries, on the other hand, have been documented as far as 1751, since the Prince of Wales was killed by the strike of a cricket ball in the head. But how common are head injuries in cricket really? Is the importance of cricket helmets overly stressed or not stressed enough? Here are the types of helmets all properly equipped cricket shops must have.
The Importance of Having the Right Cricket Helmet
Recently cricket shops and manufacturers started compensating for the drawbacks of cricket headgear from the past. Although helmets for batsmen and close-in fielders have reduced the prevalence of injuries in cricket and have, through investigation of head injuries of cricketers, it was observed that even some helmets reserved for elite cricketers have not been providing adequate head and facial injury after all. In fact, inadequate or incomplete helmet coverage of the back of the head and neck of the batters has been highlighted as an issue.
Research suggests that batters are most vulnerable to injury with a whopping 86%, followed by wicketkeepers (8%) and fielders (5.5%). Current designs of helmets, however, don’t make much difference to the rates of concussion in case of impact. Also, it’s been shown that ill-fitting helmets or improper use of helmets cause the impact energy to rapidly transfer to the head and neck in situations of impact.
Even so, many cricketers seem to be unaware of the correct positioning of the helmet on the head and they tighten the straps to a level of discomfort. Alternatively, the ball hit the head directly in 53% of the reported injuries while in 19.5% of the cases the ball crept through the gap between the peak and the faceguard.
Another problem with some cricket helmets is ineffective heat dissipation. Subsequently, an inappropriate temperature rise has been recorded in the frontal and parietal regions of the head while wearing cricket helmets. Consequently, a large number of studies have focused not only on investigating and improving the safety profile of cricket helmets but also their thermal performance.
The rules of the game state that a wicketkeeper has to wear gloves and external leg guards. In addition, helmets are mandatory for wicketkeepers standing up to the stumps.
Most wicketkeepers these days wear a helmet with a grill for facial protection. Some even wear shades or goggles to protect their eyes. When it comes to junior players, clubs are encouraged to mandate the use of helmets even if standing back to medium-fast bowlers.
Stem guards are clip-on attachments that provide additional security to the extra vulnerable areas i.e. the back of the head. Most importantly, they do so without restricting movement. Premium stem-guards have a honeycomb TPU military grade crush foam, designed to maximise impact absorption and give the player the much-needed security and confidence.
If your helmet doesn’t include earpads, getting some is strongly advised. The high-density foam earpieces protect cricket players from impacts to the ears. Also, keeping a spare can always come in handy.
Swoppa Band gives extra padding and absorbs sweat from your head and come in different sizes. If your helmet still doesn’t feel quite right, you can add additional inner cushions for ultimate helmet fit and support.
Youth and Junior Helmets
Children younger than 10 most commonly suffered head injuries due to contact with the bat. The England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) requires all players under 18 to wear a helmet for batting and wicket-keeping unless the parents consent otherwise.
The most important difference between adult and junior cricket helmets is the size. As mentioned, size matters and a right fitting helmet is the only thing keeping your child away from the Emergency Department. Junior sizes range from 51 to 54 cm, while youth helmet sizes range from 54 to 57 cm, coinciding with the standard small size (55-58 cm).
The Construction of a Quality Cricket Helmet
What are cricket helmets made of, proper ones at least? The main components are the shell, inner protective padding, peak, faceguard (grille/visor), earpiece, chinstrap and the stem guard, or the protective attachment at the back of the head protective attachment.
A shell made of 3–4 mm thick Acrylonitrile Butadiene Styrene (ABS) plastic, carbon fibre or fibreglass materials is meant not only to absorb but also distribute and dissipate the large amount of energy generated into the inner protective padding positioned beneath it.
The inner protective padding should consist of layers of high-density foam with a good shock absorption capability and flexibility. The peak, as an integral part of the shell, should protect from sunlight, floodlights and ball penetration.
Faceguards are made of steel or titanium wireframes. They have turned from an addition to a mandatory feature of the cricket headgear in order to prevent dental and orofacial injuries. The chin strap should provide a comfortable fit and keep the helmet in place.