Cricket helmet visors 'not strong enough'

<img border='0' align='left' title=' ' src='' class='caption'> The helmet worn by New Zealand cricketer Daniel Flynn, who suffered injuries when a bouncer smashed his helmet grill, offered little protection.

Updated: July 16, 2008 17:02 IST
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The helmet worn by New Zealand cricketer Daniel Flynn, who suffered injuries when a bouncer smashed his helmet grill, offers little protection , British researchers into safety equipment say.

The 23-year-old is missing a bottom tooth after four separate visits to the dentist because of a England fast bowler James Anderson's bouncer that smashed into his face. The blow on the head left Flynn with nausea for five days.

According to a report in The Daily Telegraph, experiments on helmets at Loughborough University over the past few months have shown helmets such as that worn by Flynn offer little protection.

Batting gloves have been essential items since bowling turned overarm in the 1860s, and helmets were first introduced in the 1970s.

Loughborough's sports technology institute - an organisation that works with sporting bodies and manufacturers to produce cutting edge equipment - has been testing various helmets and gloves.

The daily said that the experiments largely replicated the alarming slow motion replays of the visor bars bending outwards on impact as Flynn took the Anderson bouncer full in the face.

"In the Loughborough lab this happened constantly," it reported. "Almost every ball when aimed at the face got through the visor."

Andy Harland, the scientist in charge of the tests, said that in the extensive work he had done "not a noticeable amount of impact is deflected by the visor."

The visor bars and the helmet peak could not withstand the impact, although the helmets did a reasonable job in their primary function, to prevent death, Harland said.

The researchers were now seeking ways to improve the helmets' performance, with reinforcement for the visor bars and peak, and a chin strap redesigned to keep the helmet in place.

Harland said the problem with any protective equipment was that compromises between safety and comfort had to be made.

"You could put batsmen in a motorcycle helmet - Dennis Amiss's first helmet looked exactly that but they won't want to jeopardise their visibility or mobility."

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