Warner won't don new neck guard
Photo Source: AAP
Australian batsman David Warner says he does not wear a StemGuard, the helmet attachment developed following cricketer Phillip Hughes' death, because it is uncomfortable and a distraction.
Warner detailed his concerns about the neck guard as part of his written statement to the ongoing Hughes inquest.
Hughes died two days after being struck on the neck by a bouncer during a Sheffield Shield match in Sydney on November 25, 2014.
The opener's shock death prompted helmet manufacturer Masuri to introduce the StemGuard, a clip-on attachment made of plastic and foam that provides extra protection.
"I do not and will not wear them," Warner wrote.
"When I turn my head ... wearing a StemGuard, it impedes my neck and restricts the movement of my neck when I turn around to face bowlers. I have tried a StemGuard and it digs into my neck. It is uncomfortable and is a distraction.
"Phil's accident was the only one of its kind I know of in cricket for over 100 years. I cannot think of any way something like that can be completely avoided."
Warner added that "players talk about having the lightest possible helmet".
"With safety, the helmets are getting heavier. As a player, it is what you feel comfortable with," he wrote.
"I go with being able to see better, and being able to move my neck."
The issue is expected to be raised in the inquest and was also detailed in an independent review into Hughes' death, which was commissioned by Cricket Australia and released in May.
That report, handed down by David Curtain QC, found there is limited scientific evidence that current neck guards will prevent a similar tragedy and they must be properly evaluated before they are mandated.
Warner's experience is in sharp contrast to that of South Australia batsman Tom Cooper, another witness in the inquest.
Cooper, in his written submission, explained why he routinely wears a StemGuard.
"I fractured my skull in a game in Melbourne about six years ago and that experience, together with this incident, (means that it) makes me feel safer wearing a StemGuard," he wrote.
"In relation to whether StemGuards should be made compulsory, I can't see why not. Players have to wear helmets anyway.
"Whether you can comfortably wear a StemGuard may depend on the size of your neck or head."
Former Australia wicketkeeper Brad Haddin noted in his written statement that he had "worn it and not worn it. I tried both ways and it didn't bother me."
The inquest continues.