What Happened to Phillip Hughes?

Phillip Hughes was an Australian Test cricketer who tragically lost his life just three days before his 26th birthday. This young cricketer had his entire life ahead of him and while he did die doing the thing he loved, the irony is that he would still be alive today if he hadn’t stepped on the crease on that fateful day in November 2014.

How it Happened

Phillip Hughes was playing in a Sheffield Shield match at the Sydney Cricket Ground on the 25th of November 2014. He was batting at the time and was actually on a score of 63 not out, edging steadily towards a century in a batch between South Australia and New South Wales.

He was then bowled a bouncer from Sean Abbott—who was also an international having made his debut for Australia a month previous—which he attempted to hook. He missed and the ball bounced up and hit him underneath this helmet, just below his ear. He collapsed.

This is the story that we all heard, but there is a little more to it than that and this death wasn’t as simple as a strong blow to the head causing a loss of conscious and death, nor did he die on the field.

How Phillip Hughes Died

Hughes was fully protected at the time. He was wearing a helmet and all the other proactive gear required, but this helmet didn’t cover a few areas on his head, one of which was exactly where the ball struck.

There is an artery that runs down the side of your head, just underneath the ear. Known as the vertebral artery, it runs through the neck and goes to the brain, suppling it with oxygen. When the ball hit the area where this artery can be found, the impact caused the artery to tear, meaning that oxygen supply was immediately cut short.

Known as a “Vertebral Artery Dissection” or “VAD” this condition leads to the forming of a blood clot and in Hughes’s case it lead to an Subarachnoid Hemorrhage, which is basically a form of internal bleeding.

Phillip Hughes was rushed to hospital where they immediately operated and then placed him in an induced coma. But it was too little too late for the Australian cricketer and he succumbed to his injuries two days later.

After an inquest that was filed on the 10th of October it was determined to be an unavoidable accident, occurring because of a slight misjudgement by the batsman. The other players and umpires were cleared of all fault.