The global cricketing ‘family’ were united in theirmourning and sense of loss after the news earlier today of the tragic passingaway of Phil Hughes, the talented young Australian batsman. He was struck onthe head by a bouncer in a Sheffield Shield match between South Australia andNew South Wales on Tuesday, and never regained consciousness. The 25-year old(who would have been 26 this coming Sunday), left hander who played in the 2013Ashes series against England was a likeable and affable character as confirmedby the wealth of tributes that have been made since the news was broken of hisdeath.

It brings the subject of safety in sport back into sharpfocus, although it has been re-iterated by many directly involved in cricketthat there are no imminent calls for bouncers to be outlawed, nor indeed for anychanges to be made as a result of the incident to the rules of the game. Therewill no doubt now be calls for further investigation into how to protectbatsmen from potentially lethal blows to the head in future, but the evidencesuggests that there has only ever been one recorded incident in cricketpreviously. Essentially it was a (thankfully) freak incident and the statisticssuggest that more people have died from typhoid who played cricket than frombeing struck by the ball.

Tragedies such as this in sport, which in essence is notmeant to place those participating in it in mortal danger, brings life into sharpfocus and forces those who witness them first-hand to re-evaluate their livesand careers.

Besides the obvious impact on the family of Hughes and how theywill cope with the passing of their son, brother and friend, one should alsospare a thought for the bowler who delivered the bouncer that took a life, SeanAbbott. At 22 years of age and only recently capped by the green and gold, hewill have to live with that defining moment throughout the remainder of hiscareer, and one hopes that he can now recuperate and get the necessarycounselling and support to enable him at some point in the future toparticipate in the sport he clearly loves once again.

For a country that pridesitself on its sporting prowess and holds up the sport of cricket as itsnational sport, the loss will hit them especially hard and one feels that theywill be united in their grief and support of those involved.

Perhaps a fittingdedication and reminder of the gift that is life would be that uttered by anotherman who tragically lost his life this year, that of Robin Williams in the heartwarmingfilm “Dead Poets’s Society”. We should all look to “Seize the Day”.