(CNN) — The chunk crunched from the Australian cricketer’s forearm. Shortly afterwards, a second windmill into Steve Smith’s neck just below his left ear — poleaxing the Aussie batsman.
Unflappable, unwavering and unflustered — since he had been during this Ashes series — Smith had looked on track for tis third consecutive century on Saturday earlier, under a murky, grey sky, England fast bowler Jofra Archer began to unsettle the 30-year-old Australian.
Throughout a fiery spell that included a delivery at 96mph, both Archer and Smith moved toe-to-toe like a couple of heavyweight boxers in a contest that had audiences gripped.
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A race to become fit
Scans later showed no fracture to Smith’s arm although the 92mph bouncer which cannoned to the Australian’s neck proven to have had a more lasting impact.
Back in the changing room, Smith was originally put through routine tests by Australian team doctor Richard Saw, along with the batsman returned into the game on Saturday before eventually being dismissed for 92.
But, after the end of play on Saturday, Smith complained of headaches and was then ruled out of the rest of the game on Sunday — even Marnus Labuschagne getting the very first concussion substitute at a Test.
The third Test begins on Thursday at Leeds, however, the 30-year-old Australian will not be racing his return.
“It is obviously a fast turnaround between Test matches,” Smith said on Sunday.
“I’m likely to be assessed over the next five or five weeks, each day a couple of occasions, to see how I am feeling and how I’m progressing.
“I’m hopeful I’ll be available for this Exam game, but it is definitely up to the health care team and we will have discussions.
“It’s certainly an area of concern, concussion, and I want to be 100% match. I’ve got to have the ability to train a few days outside and after that face fast bowling to be certain my reaction time is in place.”
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A dark reminder
The sight of the Australian batsmen lying prone on the ground having been hit by a baseball ball brought back several upsetting memories to Australian cricket.
At 2014, Australian batsman Phillip Hughes died aged 25, two weeks after being struck in the head by a ball when batting in a domestic match.
Following Hughes’ horrible departure, modifications were made to protect batsmen, together with stem guards made and made optional for gamers to wear on their helmets.
After originally not feeling comfortable playing the guards on his helmet, then Smith believes he might have to rethink his position on them after this recent episode.
“I think I, along with a couple different players in the team, find it a little bit different, uncomfortable in contrast to what we are used to,” he explained.
“I feel a bit claustrophobic when it’s on. I feel as though I’m enclosed rather than overly comfortable.
“It is certainly something I need to probably take a look at and possibly try in the nets and see whether I can find a way to get comfortable with it.”
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The correct Choice
Research completed by Cricket Australia shows that postponed concussion — where symptoms do not develop until a few hours after the first blow — occur in approximately 30% of cases.
At the second Test at Lord’s, three players were struck on the head and Smith was the only player to endure a concussion.
And given just around 20% of head impacts in cricket result in a concussion, Alex Kountouris, Cricket Australia’s manager of sports medicine, considers removing a player from the game every time they were struck at the head would be unnecessary.
“The fact is just about one in six or five mind affects wind up in concussion,” Kountouris stated at a media conference in Australia on Monday.
“If we pulled out every participant who had a direct impact, we’d be pulling out 80 percent of players that do not have a concussion and taking them from the game. So that would be an overreaction.
“If you look at that game, there were three other mind influences and only Steve needed a concussion.
“He did not have a concussion at the time (he had been hit) so he was allowed to perform. If we took him from this game, we’d have been leaving him from the game for no reason other than what we found on the area.”
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Following protocols
Kountouris also said he was”100 percent” fulfilled by Dr. Saw’s therapy of Smith.
“In the close of the day, our physician pulled him out of day five of the Test match, which was a fairly critical area of the match,” he explained.
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“Our doctor is an expert in his area, he’s educated to pick up even the small signs of concussion.
“(He) has been brilliant. Everything he did was according to the routine, he was very thorough, and we know he is very comprehensive. We are 100% pleased with what happened around.”
Australian lead the series 1-0.

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