Some things are bigger than sport

Glenn Mitchell Columnist

By Glenn Mitchell, Glenn Mitchell is a Roar Expert

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    Chris Rogers’ Test career may have come to a premature end.

    The pugnacious left-hander announced ahead of this Ashes series that it would be his last beneath the baggy green.

    However, a dizzy spell that took effect in the middle of Lord’s some two days after he was struck in the helmet by James Anderson may see the curtain drawn early.

    For Rogers it was a case of déjà vu, and a very recent one to boot.

    Two days out from the first Test in the Caribbean in early June he was struck on the helmet by a local net bowler.

    The effects of that blow ruled him out of the entire two-Test series.

    In cricket terms that was a long break from action as a result of a hit to the helmet.

    But that blow was by no means the first in Rogers 16-year, 294-match first-class career.

    In the aftermath of the blow in he suffered at Rousseau, Rogers reflected on the number of times he had been struck in the head while batting.

    “To be honest, I didn’t think much of the hit on the head. I’ve been hit on the head quite a few times. I thought it was just another one. But then I just didn’t start to feel great. I spoke to the doc and didn’t expect him to rule me out of the Test, but he did,” Rogers said.

    “I was a little bit surprised at the time but since then I still haven’t quite recovered. I’ve had some pretty bad days so I think the doc was right. He made the right call.

    “I’ve never really had symptoms like this, I must admit. Even just running and taking a few catches and then feeling terrible for the rest of the day. It’s been a bit of a wake-up call.”

    The first ball of day two of the Lord’s Test provided another wake-up call, when on 158, he misjudged a short delivery from Anderson and was struck on the helmet behind the right ear.

    There was a short delay as Rogers was attended to by team doctor Peter Brukner who stemmed some light bleeding behind his ear.

    When Rogers resumed there appeared to be no ill effects in the lead-in to him being dismissed for a career-best 173.

    In was during the opening session of the fourth day that the aftermath was first experienced.

    Clearly dizzy and dazed – with 49 alongside his name on the scoreboard – he walked across the pitch and went down on one knee as opening partner David Warner signalled for assistance from the rooms.

    This time there was no continuing with Dr Brukner leading Rogers back to the pavilion.

    Interestingly, Rogers is one of the few Australian batsmen who have adopted the modified helmet that was hastily manufactured following the tragic death of Phillip Hughes in November.

    The area he was hit was eerily close to where Hughes was struck his fatal blow.

    Given Rogers has declared that he only has three further Tests ahead of his retirement it brings into question whether or not he should depart the scene earlier.

    Concussion as a result of numerous blows to the head has been something that many sporting codes in Australia have been wrestling with of late.

    The standing down of Rogers in the Caribbean was part of a newly adopted policy by Cricket Australia of dealing with players who have suffered a concussion.

    A landmark ruling from a US Court in April approved a plan whereby former-NFL players would be entitled to a slice of US$1bn over the next 65 years as a result of on-field concussions.

    It is estimated that as many as 6000 of the nearly 20,000 retired players will suffer from Alzheimer’s disease or moderate dementia in the future after years of having received blows to the head.

    The ruling sent shivers through the boardrooms of sports like Australian football and the rugby codes in this country.

    Rogers is a thoughtful man.

    He is often portrayed by his teammates as being the one who is either on his Kindle reading or doing crosswords to help kill time while on tour.

    He will now, along with medical staff, have to decide whether he gives himself more time for those pursuits at the expense of extending his career.

    He has been Australia’s most consistent batsman through the first two Tests with scores of 95, 10, 173 and 49 not out.

    After 22 Tests, and with five centuries to his name, he has taken his career average to a credible 44.3.

    Having been recalled to the side after a solitary Test seven years ago he has proven himself to be a highly capable Test opener.

    While he will be torn to play the last three Tests of the current series, he may well be advised to call it a day with his long-term health a far more important consideration.

    Should he either be ruled out or chooses to step down of his own volition, it will be a body blow to the aspirations of Michael Clarke’s team.

    Rogers has scored four of his five tons against the old enemy and in 12 matches, both home-and-away, he has scored 1157 runs at 52.6.

    As was the case in the Caribbean when Rogers was sidelined, it will be Shaun Marsh who will be thrown to the top of the order.

    He fared reasonably against West Indies with a four innings aggregate of 112 at 37.3, however opening in Tests in England is a whole different ballgame.

    But in truth, when it comes to the long-term wellbeing and health of a sportsman, the decision to err on the side of caution is the best option.

    And with Chris Rogers, that may well be the course of action that is required for the risk of another blow maybe more than his body can properly absorb.

    Glenn Mitchell
    Glenn Mitchell

    After 21 years as a sports broadcaster with the ABC, since mid-2011 Glenn Mitchell has been freelancing in the electronic and written media. He is an ambassador for mental health in Australia, and tweets from @mitchellglenn.

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    The Crowd Says (45)

    • July 21st 2015 @ 6:36am
      riddler said | July 21st 2015 @ 6:36am | ! Report

      the guy is a legend and i really don’t think some people appreciate how good a player he is..

      i am hoping that he is okay and can continue for the rest of the tour..

      but if he can’t then he should be happy and very proud of what he has achieved and to also know that there are many, many fans out there who really do appreciate his talent and the way he goes about it..

      • July 21st 2015 @ 7:08am
        Adsa said | July 21st 2015 @ 7:08am | ! Report

        Thanks Riddler, you summed up my thoughts, he has nothing to prove, if Lords is his last, then what a way to finish your career, your name on the board in the first innings and 49 not out in his second dig.

        • July 21st 2015 @ 8:26am
          Sideline Comm. said | July 21st 2015 @ 8:26am | ! Report

          Yeah I agree guys, true champion who should have no regrets. That said, latest news is that it is not concussion related, but dizziness related to getting hit on the ear. He’s staying in London to see a specialist, but apparently there is no serious damage and could well be ok to play at Edgbaston.

          • Roar Guru

            July 21st 2015 @ 3:11pm
            jeznez said | July 21st 2015 @ 3:11pm | ! Report

            I recognise the quote:

            “I’ve never really had symptoms like this, I must admit. Even just running and taking a few catches and then feeling terrible for the rest of the day. It’s been a bit of a wake-up call.”

            Is from the knock in the Carribean but those are classic concussion symptons. I would be amazed if the symptons being felt now with another hit this soon afterwards was not concussion related.

            I know it is rugby rather than cricket related but I often point people to this article – I knew Devine when he had just left school, really bright, cheerful guy – reading about the struggle he had due to repeated head knocks was a massive eye-opener for me.


            Unless the medicos are certain it isn’t concussion related they must stand him down – if he is having issues with balance he should probably be stood down anyway.

            A real shame as the guy has been one of our few rocks amongst some flaky bats and we’ll miss his contributions. If this is the end it has been a pleasure watching him play.

    • July 21st 2015 @ 7:18am
      indian cricket fan said | July 21st 2015 @ 7:18am | ! Report

      Couldn’t agree more with your views, Glenn. Rogers is a class act and it will be painful for all cricket fans to see his career end in between the ashes but he must take the right decision for himself. I just feel Australia are so lucky to have him in their ranks. He is a true grinder, a patient man who waited years for his chance and is in great form. All the best Rogers, hope you stay healthy and inspire others to play test cricket

    • July 21st 2015 @ 7:55am
      AlanKC said | July 21st 2015 @ 7:55am | ! Report

      Hopefully he’s okay, because his longterm health comes first, and hopefully he’ll be able to sign off on his own terms by playing out the series but if he can’t then what a career and what a contribution to the success of this Australian he’s had.

    • July 21st 2015 @ 8:12am
      fadida said | July 21st 2015 @ 8:12am | ! Report

      Boof to promote the Great Watto to to open? 🙁

    • Roar Rookie

      July 21st 2015 @ 8:19am
      josh said | July 21st 2015 @ 8:19am | ! Report

      I’d add Brad Haddin to that list.

      I know in both Rogers and Haddin you have blokes who love playing the game. It provides them with their main source of income and other benefits. But in both cases, their respective situations are bigger than a game of cricket.

      What else do they have to prove?

      • Columnist

        July 21st 2015 @ 8:23am
        Glenn Mitchell said | July 21st 2015 @ 8:23am | ! Report

        Interestingly, reports coming out of England that Haddin may well be back for the Edgbaston Test.

        • Roar Rookie

          July 21st 2015 @ 8:31am
          josh said | July 21st 2015 @ 8:31am | ! Report


          I know Haddin will trot out the line, I think I still have something to add etc…

          Neville has shown he is a more than capable and deserves another shot.

          Haddin hanging around reeks of boy’s club. He’s been below par for a while now. Has more pressing issues in his life than a game of cricket.

          Why does he want to play on?

          • July 21st 2015 @ 8:37am
            jamesb said | July 21st 2015 @ 8:37am | ! Report

            If Haddin comes in, then we won’t have the right balance at six and seven with Marsh and Haddin. Both are dashers with the bat. In other words, a potential middle order collapse. If Nevill stays at seven, you have someone who plays as a conservative batsman.

            That’s why having Marsh and Nevill at six and seven is the right balance for the team.Just like the openers with Warner and Rogers.

            If I were Haddin, I would be thinking team first, individual second.

            • July 21st 2015 @ 8:43am
              Sideline Comm. said | July 21st 2015 @ 8:43am | ! Report

              Exactly, he’s supposed to be such a team man. I like Haddin and always have, but there is only so much you can rage against the dying of the light. But then, people can rarely see when they are done, let alone sportsmen.

              • Roar Rookie

                July 21st 2015 @ 10:10am
                josh said | July 21st 2015 @ 10:10am | ! Report

                I would have said it’s mostly $$$. but with T20, I’m not sure that’s entirely the case nowadays. I’m sure Haddin could earn a decent living on the T20 circuit.

            • July 23rd 2015 @ 7:52pm
              Don Freo said | July 23rd 2015 @ 7:52pm | ! Report

              You’ll be ok with Marsh. He can and does score quickly but is proving to be a sedate and responsible builder of an innings.

              Haddin and MitchMarsh are cheese and chalk.

          • Roar Guru

            July 21st 2015 @ 11:12am
            Chop said | July 21st 2015 @ 11:12am | ! Report

            Hearing him speak late last year, it’s clear he still has massive pride in representing his country. I think it’s as easy as that, he obviously knows his test career is coming to an end and he thinks he can still contribute.

            I am unsure if he should be selected in the 3rd test, but I can guarantee that he thinks he can still contribute to the team or he’d be on a plane back to Australia.

        • July 21st 2015 @ 4:03pm
          13th Man said | July 21st 2015 @ 4:03pm | ! Report

          Yes i know Haddin has been going through a tough time with his daughters illness and that was what kept him out of the 2nd test, but it is time to go. Neville was brilliant and is the future, Hadds isn’t the same player he once was, time to give Neville an extended run at the top. Maybe if there is a dead rubber 5th test give Hadds his farewell game, otherwise Neville is the man. I also think Hadds upsets the team balance at 7. Neville is a more solid bat and is the safer bet at 7.

    • July 21st 2015 @ 8:33am
      Chui said | July 21st 2015 @ 8:33am | ! Report

      In junior rugby, for instance, there is a compulsory two match lay off after a concussion of any severity.

      I wonder if we will see something similar introduced to cricket.

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