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"The word tragedy gets used too often in sport, but this freak accident is a real life tragedy." - James Sutherland, Cricket Australia.
Australia, the cricketing world and indeed the whole of sport was rocked by the devastating news that Phillip Hughes, the Australian international left-handed batsman, had died after being struck in the neck by a bouncer.
The team doctor, Peter Brukner, said that Hughes had died from a massive bleed on the brain, caused by a vertebral artery dissection as a result of being struck on the neck by the ball. He said that this type of injury was "incredibly rare", stating that there had only ever been one previous example of the injury being caused by a cricket ball.
Hughes was a rising star in cricket and one that fans of English County cricket will remember after he enjoyed a stellar season at Middlesex in 2009. In his first three games for the county, he scored 574 first class runs and made three hundreds at an average of 143.5, an extremely impressive statistic.
Hughes also enjoyed considerable international success. He made three Test hundreds for Australia, two of which were against South Africa in Durban during the 2009 Test series. He was also a record breaker, becoming the first ever Australian player to score 100 runs on his ODI debut.
He was, as the numerous tributes from team mates, coaches and governing bodies have touched upon, a player with an incredibly bright future in the game. His death is immensely shocking and is completely out of the blue.
The tributes to Hughes are very touching. Greats of the game such as Sachin Tendulkar and Shane Warne have both paid tributes to him, as has his best friend and Australia captain, Michael Clarke.
Perhaps the most touching tribute is the #putoutyourbats campaign on Twitter. Numerous cricketing heroes have put their bats outs with hats on top and uploaded a photo of it. As a result, the campaign has now gone viral. The England cricket team have paid their own tributes to Hughes with both a statement and their own #putoutyourbats photo.
Support is also being shown for Sean Abbott, the bowler who bowled the bouncer that killed Hughes. Cricket Australia has pledged to give Abbott as much support as he needs and it has become apparent that both Clarke and Hughes' sister, Megan, comforted Abbott as he waited for news on Hughes' condition in the hospital.
There will be calls to assess the safety of the sport after the heart-breaking loss of Hughes. This is a natural reaction. Cricket Australia have promised to conduct an investigation into player safety in due course. Alistair Cook, England captain, has voiced his opinions on the matter, claiming that cricket has "never been safer".
Questions are being asked regarding the design of the helmets. Can they offer more protection? Perhaps a modification to protect more of the neck could be included, as recent adaptations to the helmet have seen increased protection of the temple. Maybe the introduction of a separate neck guard to protect the area that Hughes was struck on could be another potential solution.
Regardless of the future debate on player safety, it is important that the cricketing world remembers Hughes and rallies round Abbott. This was, potentially, the most freakish accident that has ever occurred on a cricket pitch. It is almost certainly the most tragic. If you are at a loss as to what to do tonight, take a few moments to #putoutyourbat to remember the life of Phillip Hughes.
Phillip Hughes, November 30 1988 - November 27 2014, 63* forever.