Pulling Smith out would have been an overreaction, our doctor was thorough: CA
Richard Saw (left) with Steve Smith (AFP Photo)

Questions have been raised over the manner in which Australia handled Steve Smith‘s concussion during the penultimate day of their second Ashes Test against England.


Smith was felled by a Jofra Archer bouncer and Australia’s team doctor Richard Saw removed him from the field. After conduction a series of tests, Smith was passed fit to resume his innings as he walked back to the field after the fall of another Australian wicket.

He made 92 before being adjudged lbw but complained of headaches and grogginess the following morning, also the fifth and final day of the Lord’s Test. Eventually, it was decided Smith will be substituted with Marnus Labuschagne replacing him in the playing XI.

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But Cricket Australia’s (CA) chief medical officer Alex Kountouris has defended the entire episode saying the chance of a player suffering concussion after head impacts are quite low and pulling Smith out would have been an ‘overreaction’.

“The reality is only about one in five or six head impacts end up in concussion,” he said. If we pulled out every player who had a head impact, we’d be pulling out 80 per cent of players who don’t have a concussion and taking them out of the game. So that would be an overreaction,” Kountouris said on Monday.

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He added, “If you look at that game, there were three other head impacts and only Steve had a concussion. He didn’t have a concussion at the time (he was hit) so he was allowed to play. If we took him out of the game, we would have been leaving him out of the game for no reason other than what we saw on the field.”

CA said only 30 percent of cases show symptoms of delayed concussion and Kountouris is satisfied with how Saw dealt with delicate issue saying protocol was followed.

“At the end of the day, our doctor pulled him out of day five of the Test match, which was a pretty critical part of the game,” he said. “Our doctor is an expert in his field, he’s trained to pick up even the minor signs of concussion. (He) was brilliant. Everything he did was according to the protocol, he was very thorough and we know he’s very thorough. We’re 100 per cent happy with what happened over there.”