A sad day for sports

Aussie cricketer dies after ball hit him 

SYDNEY - Australian Test cricketer Phillip Hughes died yesterday from a rare injury after a sickening on-field blow, in a tragedy that sent shockwaves through the sporting world.

It was one of the highest-profile sporting fatalities since the death of three-time Formula One world champion Ayrton Senna 20 years ago, and reopened a debate about protecting batsmen from potentially lethal blows.

Hughes, who was due to celebrate his 26th birthday this weekend, was hit at the base of the skull by a rising ball while batting for South Australia against New South Wales at the Sydney Cricket Ground on Tuesday.

He crumpled to the pitch unconscious after the blow, despite wearing a helmet. He underwent emergency surgery and had been in an induced coma since.

Australian team doctor Peter Brukner said Hughes died from an injury to the neck that caused a haemorrhage in the brain. The condition is very rare, with only one known incident as a result of a cricket ball. Despite the freak nature of the incident, Cricket Australia chief James Sutherland said he expected the safety of helmets to be re-examined.

"We're devastated by the loss of our much-loved son and brother, Phillip," the Hughes family said in a statement read out by a devastated Michael Clarke, Australia's cricket captain.

"It has been a very difficult few days. We appreciate all the support we have received from family, friends, players, Cricket Australia and the general public."

Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott called it a tragedy, while retired Indian cricket superstar Sachin Tendulkar led a wave of sympathy from abroad. "Shocked to hear about Phil. Sad day for cricket," he said.

Australia has cancelled a two-day match against India which was to start today in Adelaide.

Aspiring local boxer dies 2 years after injury

Budding Singapore boxer Shahril Salim, 23, died yesterday, two years after a collapse during training left him with a serious brain injury.

He was preparing to make his debut in November 2012 when tragedy struck during a group sparring session at the Juggernaut Fight Club in Boat Quay.

The jovial youngster had been bedridden and unable to speak since the incident, communicating with family members via hand and eye gestures. He also had to be fed through a tube in his nose.

Yesterday, the former ITE College East student developed a high fever at his sister's home and subsequently stopped breathing in an ambulance. He was pronounced dead on arrival at Singapore General Hospital.

"Shahril's suffering has ended. We believe he's now free again as he should be," said his brother and main carer Jufri, 31.

"His condition left him trapped. From someone who talked so much and was a big eater, he couldn't even grip a pen."

Shahril underwent repeated operations and spent time in various hospitals. At first, the mood was optimistic as he began to respond to treatment, which included physiotherapy to stimulate his senses.

Although progress was slow, Shahril even appeared on the verge of being able to speak again at the start of last year. He was allowed back home on several occasions but kept being re-admitted due to infection, and his family all but gave up hope of a recovery.

Friends and fans have paid tribute to the hard hitter on the Wake The Bull Facebook page, named after the moniker he intended to use in the ring.

A wake will be held from 10am to 12.30pm today at Block 57, New Upper Changi Road, #08-1348, before his burial at Muslim cemetery Pusara Abadi in Lim Chu Kang.

nsanjay@sph.com.sg

 

This article was first published on November 28, 2014. Get a copy of The Straits Times or go to straitstimes.com for more stories.