TIME Know Right Now

Know Right Now: The Hidden Dangers of Cricket

Two deaths in one week shine a spotlight on the "gentleman's game"

A 60-year-old cricket umpire in Israel died from injuries sustained after being struck in the face with a cricket ball during a match Saturday.

Just two days prior to that, Australian batsman Phillip Hughes, 25, died after being hit in the head by a ball as a result of a quick, rising pitch called a “bouncer.” Deaths in cricket—one of the world’s most popular sports—are extremely rare, but bowlers pitch their balls at speeds of up to 100 mph, and most on the field don’t wear protective gear.

Following the tragic events, Australia’s chief executive for cricket, James Sutherland said Cricket Australia will be reviewing safety procedures and protocol for players.

TIME Cricket

Two Deaths Within a Week Makes Cricket Safety Conversation Get Louder

The death of an Israeli umpire hit by a cricket ball on Saturday came two days after the demise of Australian rising star Phillip Hughes

In the conversation about the dangers of global sport, cricket is not the first (or even the fifth) one that springs to mind. Popularly known as “the gentleman’s game,” it generally doesn’t receive the sort of negative attention that sports like American football have recently.

But two shocking fatalities within the past week have thrust a global spotlight on the potential risks of a storied pastime that is only played regularly by about a dozen countries. A 60-year-old Israeli umpire died on Saturday after being struck by a ball during a match in the country’s Western city of Ashdod. Hillel Oscar, a former national team captain, was rushed to hospital but declared dead on arrival after the ball rebounded off a wicket and hit him in the face, according to the Associated Press. Unlike baseball, cricket umpires stand directly across from the batsman right next to where the bowler releases the ball — and without any protective gear.

But death or even serious injury to umpires are even more infrequent than to players, with only a 2009 incident involving Wales’ Alcwyn Jenkins the only such fatality in recent memory, according to the BBC. (Fractured fingers when the ball strikes the gloved hand gripping the hard bat handle are some of the most common injuries.)

Saturday’s incident came at a time when the cricket fraternity is still reeling from the sudden demise of 25-year-old Australian batsman Phillip Hughes two days earlier. Hughes was struck on the side of the head Tuesday by a quick, rising ball known as a “bouncer,” severing a vertebral artery in what many are calling a freak accident.

Although blunt trauma from a cricket ball is an infrequent occurrence and fatalities are even rarer, there have been instances of both in the past — including one with eerie similarities to Hughes. The inherent danger of fast bowling, where a five-and-a-half ounce cricket ball made of cork and leather is often used to directly target batsmen’s faces and bodies at close to a 100 miles per hour, has prompted a few rule changes in the past.

The most notable of these was the 1933 “bodyline” controversy between England and Australia, where the English bowlers adopted a strategy of bowling quick, short balls straight at the bodies of Australian batsman. The tactic caused a lot of bad blood between the two countries, and even spilled over to the diplomatic arena. The laws of the game were subsequently amended to restrict the number of fielders in the immediate vicinity of the batsman that made bodyline bowling effective, and the danger posed by a bowler was placed at the discretion of the umpire.

“The bowling of fast short pitched balls is dangerous and unfair if the bowler’s end umpire considers that by their repetition and taking into account their length, height and direction they are likely to inflict physical injury on the striker irrespective of the protective equipment he may be wearing,” the current law states, with an addendum stating that “the relative skill of the striker shall be taken into consideration.”

The International Cricket Council, the sport’s governing body, issued a directive in 1991 limiting the number of “bouncers” a bowler could bowl to one every six balls. That number was increased to two after players protested vociferously, but returned to one in 2001. But one in six deliveries is still a relatively high frequency, and the short ball remains a commonly employed intimidation tactic.

“I think the danger is for young cricketers to be steered away from being exposed to the short ball,” said Shaun Seigert, head coach of Australia’s Darren Lehmann Cricket Academy, in an interview with TIME. “I think it needs to go the other way,” he added, explaining that young cricketers who are not taught to face this kind of bowling have a tougher time developing the instinct to deal with it when they enter the big leagues.

Hughes’s death has also initiated a conversation around safety equipment in cricket, with the company that manufactured the helmet he was wearing stating that their latest version affords more protection to the area of the body where he was struck.

Helmets only became common in the 1970s, and are only generally worn by the two batsmen on the field and the wicketkeeper (equivalent of baseball’s “catcher”), although fielders placed standing extremely close to the batsmen at a position aptly named “silly point” sometimes don them. The other outfielders — unlike those in baseball — are not usually protected by any gloves or other padding, and dislocated fingers are another common occurrence from mistimed catches.

But many argue that no amount of protection can completely negate the risks of the game, and Hughes’ death — however freakish — serves as a warning against complacency.

“We wouldn’t want anyone wearing a helmet designed to the new standards to think that they were invulnerable,” the New York Times quoted Professional Cricketers Association chief Angus Porter as saying. “A cricket ball is a hard and potentially dangerous object, whatever protection you are wearing.”

Porter’s statement stems from the argument that helmets prompt cricketers to take shots and risks that they might not otherwise, not unlike NFL players hurling themselves into dangerous tackles that unprotected rugby players would avoid.

Seigert, whose students are just a couple of years younger than Hughes was, says that is a fair assessment. “You probably may not respect the short ball as you would if you hadn’t got a helmet on,” Seigert says, stressing again that the reduction in consequences that helmets afford may prevent youngsters from learning the proper techniques. “You tend to see a lot of players now that don’t really move their feet [to the optimum striking distance of the ball],” he explains.

The veteran coach says that although safety equipment is a factor that needs to be taken into consideration, there is no substitute for facing the short ball head on, both literally and figuratively.

“We tend to wrap our kids up in cotton wool, but is that really preparing them for the world?”

Read next: Tributes Pour in for Late Australian Cricketer Phillip Hughes

TIME Cricket

Tributes Pour in for Late Australian Cricketer Phillip Hughes

The 25-year-old's death, attributed to a "dissected vertebral artery," shines a spotlight on cricket's hidden dangers

Australian cricketer Phillip Hughes’ sudden, tragic death shook the world on Thursday, its impact and outpouring of grief extending far beyond a sport only played by 15-odd countries.

Hughes’s death was a freak accident in what’s known as the “gentleman’s game,” and came two days after he was struck just below his left ear by a speeding ball during a domestic match and collapsed face-first onto the ground.

The 25-year-old left-handed opening batsman was rushed to the hospital and operated upon but succumbed to the injury Thursday morning, with his official cause of death being termed a “dissected vertebral artery.” The Australian team doctor revealed that he could find only 100 such fatalities in medical history, and only one other caused by a cricket ball.

No blame whatsoever is being attached to the bowler, Sean Abbott, 22, who was on occasion an international teammate of Hughes.

“We are devastated by the loss of our much loved son and brother Phillip,” said a statement from the Hughes family read out by Australian team captain Michael Clarke. “Cricket was Phillip’s life and we as a family shared that love of the game with him.”

It was not just his family, the Australian cricket team or even the global cricket fraternity that went into mourning on Thursday. Several other sportsmen and prominent figures offered their tributes to the young cricket star, and hundreds of Twitter users shared photos of cricket bats on empty fields or propped up against walls using the tag #putoutyourbats.

The passing of Hughes, who grew up on his family’s banana farm in the northern New South Wales town of Macksville, not far from Sydney, also shined a spotlight on the dangers of cricket. Despite its genteel reputation, the sport commonly leads to broken bones — though fatalities remain extremely rare — when played at the highest level. The five and a half ounce cork and leather balls hurled can reach speeds of 100 mph and are much harder than their baseball equivalents.

Masuri, the company that manufactures the helmet Hughes was wearing, said he was not wearing their latest version that affords greater protection, according to the Independent.

But many insist that even with a different helmet, the freak nature of the injury means not much could have been done to prevent it.

Australia’s next international match, scheduled to take place against India at Brisbane next week, still hangs in the balance. A practice encounter between the teams featuring an Australian reserve squad has already been canceled, and Reuters reports that the Hughes family will also be involved in the decision whether to go ahead with the international match.

TIME Research

Study: Brain Abnormalities Found in 40% of SIDS Cases

Brain, artwork
Science Photo Library/Corbis

A quirk in the brain may be causing unexplained deaths in babies

The unknown cause of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) could be a brain abnormality, a new study suggests.

A team of researchers reported that around 43% of infants who died of SIDS shared a brain abnormality that affects the area of the brain called the hippocampus, which is responsible for basic functions like breathing and heart rate, in study published in the journal Acta Neuropathologica.

The team from Boston Children’s Hospital, Harvard Medical School, the San Diego County Medical Examiner’s office, and Baylor College of Medicine in Houston looked at sections of the hippocampus from 153 infants who underwent an autopsy in San Diego. All of the infants had died suddenly between the years of 1991 and 2012. Some of the infants’ deaths could be explained; those that could not be explained fell were ruled as SIDS. Eighty-three of the cases were classified as SIDS.

MORE: Don’t Count on Smart Baby Monitors To Prevent SIDS

Within the infants with SIDS, the researchers found an abnormality in a part of the hippocampus called the dentate gyrus. Specifically, at some parts of the dentate gyrus, it contained a double layer of nerve cells instead of the typical single layer. It’s possible that this abnormality interferes with the brain’s regulation of breathing control and heart rate while a child is sleeping. This abnormality was found in 43% of the SIDS cases.

Researchers believe that there might be a variety of factors that influence the risk of SIDS, which is why the researchers say not all of the cases had the brain abnormality.

It’s also possible that when a child is sleeping in an unsafe position or environment (it is recommended that infants sleep on their backs), the abnormality is triggered. More research is needed to conclude how exactly this quirk in the brain plays out.

TIME movies

Here’s Where to Watch Mike Nichols’ Movies Online

Signature Theatre Company's 20th Anniversary Gala
Director Mike Nichols attends the Signature Theatre Company's 20th Anniversary Gala at Espace on November 8, 2010 Jim Spellman—WireImage

From The Graduate to Charlie Wilson's War

Beloved director Mike Nichols, husband of Diane Sawyer, died suddenly of cardiac arrest Wednesday. He was 83.

Hollywood is mourning the loss of a great director, writer and producer, whose work included directing The Graduate and The Birdcage, and serving as a producer on HBO’s Angels in America . Nichols was one of only 12 people to win an EGOT — Emmy, Grammy, Oscar and Tony — over the span of his career.

For those who want to revisit some of Nichols’ work, here’s a list of some of his movies that are available to rent and stream online:

  • Charlie Wilson’s War, 2007 — Amazon (rent)
  • Closer, 2004 — Amazon (rent)
  • Angels in America, 2003 — HBO (streaming), Amazon (streaming)
  • Primary Colors, 1998 — Amazon (rent)
  • The Birdcage, 1996 — Netflix (streaming, Amazon (streaming)
  • Wolf, 1994 — Netflix (rent)
  • Regarding Henry, 1991 — Amazon (rent)
  • Postcards from the Edge, 1990 — Amazon (rent)
  • Working Girl, 1988 — Amazon (rent)
  • Biloxi Blues, 1988 — Amazon (rent)
  • Heartburn, 1986 — Netflix (streaming), Amazon (streaming)
  • Carnal Knowledge, 1971 — Amazon (rent)
  • Catch-22, 1970 — Amazon (rent)
  • The Graduate, 1967 — Netflix (streaming), Amazon (streaming)
  • Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf, 1966 — Amazon (rent)
TIME Japan

A Japanese Woman Has Been Linked to the Deaths of Six of Her Partners

The men all died shortly after starting a relationship with her

A Japanese woman, who has been linked to a series of mysterious deaths, has been arrested on suspicion of fatally poisoning her husband.

Sixty-seven-year-old Chisako Kakehi was arrested by Kyoto police on Wednesday. Japanese media say cyanide was found in the body of her 75-year-old husband, who died in Dec. 2013, one month after the couple was married, Associated Press reports.

But Isao Kakehi was just one of six men who came to untimely deaths shortly after marrying or beginning a relationship with the woman.

In 2012, cyanide was also found in the blood of her 71-year-old partner who died after falling off his motorcycle. According to Kyodo news service, the cause of death was attributed to heart disease.

Chisako Kakehi denies she had a hand in any of the deaths.

[AP]

TIME remembrance

Motown Singer Jimmy Ruffin Dies at Age 78

Jimmy Ruffin
American soul singer Jimmy Ruffin in London, 1973 Michael Putland—Getty Images

"Jimmy Ruffin was a rare type of man who left his mark on the music industry"

(NEW YORK) — Jimmy Ruffin, the Motown singer whose hits include “What Becomes of the Brokenhearted” and “Hold on to My Love,” died Monday in a Las Vegas hospital. He was 78.

Philicia Ruffin and Jimmy Lee Ruffin Jr., the late singer’s children, confirmed Wednesday that Ruffin had died. There were no details about the cause of death.

Ruffin was the older brother of Temptations lead singer David Ruffin, who died in 1991 at age 50.

“Jimmy Ruffin was a rare type of man who left his mark on the music industry. My family in its entirety is extremely upset over his death. He will truly be missed,” a statement from Philicia Ruffin and the Ruffinfamily said. “We will treasure the many fond and wonderful memories we all have of him.”

Jimmy Lee Ruffin was born on May 7, 1936, in Collinsville, Mississippi. He was signed to Berry Gordy’s Motown Records, and had a string of hits in the 1960s, including “What Becomes of the Brokenhearted,” which became a Top 10 pop hit.

He had continued success with songs such as “I’ve Passed This Way Before” and “Gonna Give Her All the Love I’ve Got,” but Ruffin marked a comeback in 1980 with his second Top 10 hit, “Hold on to My Love.” The song was produced by Robin Gibb, the Bee Gees member who died in 2012.

Ruffin worked with his brother David in the 1970s on the album, “I Am My Brother’s Keeper.”

Ruffin also lived in England for many years.

Funeral arrangements are pending, the family said.

“We appreciate all of the love and prayers from our family, friends, his colleagues and his adoring fans,” the statement said.

TIME Infectious Disease

Egypt Sees Second Bird Flu Death in Two Days

A poultry merchant feeds a pigeon from her mouth in a popular market in Cairo, Egypt, Nov. 19 2014.
A poultry merchant feeds a pigeon from her mouth in a popular market in Cairo, Egypt, Nov. 19 2014. Khaled Elfiqi—EPA

30-year-old woman had contact with infected birds

Egypt’s health ministry said Tuesday that a woman died from H5N1 bird flu after coming into contact with infected birds, one day after another case proved fatal.

The 30-year-0ld woman was reported in a state newspaper to have died in a hospital in the southern city of Assiut, according to Reuters, just a day after a 19-year-old woman had died in the same city.

Seven cases of the virus, including three deaths, have been identified in Egypt this year. H5N1 doesn’t appear to transmit efficiently between human beings, the World Health Organization says, and Egypt’s cases have largely revolved around rural areas where villages slaughter or keep poultry.

[Reuters]

TIME ebola

Woman’s Remains in New York Test Negative for Ebola

Nurses from the New York State Nurses Association protest for improved Ebola safeguards, part of a national day of action, in New York
Nurses from the New York State Nurses Association protest for improved Ebola safeguards, part of a national day of action, in New York City November 12, 2014. © Mike Segar—Reuters

She had arrived from Guinea about three weeks earlier

The remains of a woman in New York who died while under observation for potential Ebola exposure have tested negative for the virus, health officials said Wednesday.

The woman arrived from Guinea, one of the three nations hit hardest in the Ebola outbreak in West Africa, nearly three weeks ago and was being monitored out of “an abundance of caution” because her trip fell within the virus’ 21-day incubation period, the New York Times reports. She had shown no symptoms for the disease.

She was one of some 300 people being monitored by New York City as a potential case. The city’s sole diagnosed case to date, Dr. Craig Spencer, was successfully treated and released.

[NYT]

TIME Crime

Man Arraigned on Negligent Homicide Charge After Son Dies in Hot Car

Hot Car Death
Kyle Seitz, right, of Ridgefield, Conn., stands for arraignment with his attorney John Gulash in Danbury Superior Court in Danbury, Conn., on Nov. 12, 2014 H John Voorhees III—AP

Boy was left in vehicle for over seven hours

A Connecticut man whose 15-month-old son died of hyperthermia after being left in a hot car for hours was arraigned Wednesday on charges of negligent homicide.

MORE: Who’s at fault when a child dies in a hot car?

Thirty-six-year-old Kyle Seitz was free to leave the courtroom, but Superior Court Judge Dan Shaban ordered him to surrender his passport and remain in Connecticut, Reuters reports.

Shaban also ruled that Seitz was to have no unsupervised contact with his two daughters, who are now living with their mother.

Seitz says he had forgotten that he was supposed to take his son Benjamin to day care and did not realize the boy was still in his car seat as he went to work on July 7.

The chief state medical examiner’s office in August said temperatures inside the car that day would have reached 88°F, causing Benjamin to succumb to “hyperthermia due to environmental exposure.”

Seitz is due to reappear in court on Nov. 21.

In the U.S. in 2013, 44 children died of heat stroke in cars, and more than 600 have died since 1998.

[Reuters]

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