September, 2019

Another cricket death provides guidance in Phillip Hughes aftermath

The key figure in shepherding cricketers through another traumatic loss of a teammate, Tasmanian batsman Scott Mason, almost a decade ago has urged cricket administrators and supporters to allow teammates of Phillip Hughes to set their own pace in coming to terms with his death.

Mason, a 28-year-old with two Sheffield Shield centuries to his name, had just completed an entire season on the sidelines as he recovered from open heart surgery to repair a dangerous valve defect.

In the first week of April 2005, a time shield players were due to be on their post-season break, he was already beginning his preparation for the following season by hitting throwdowns in the Bellerive Oval nets from Tim Coyle, a longtime mentor who was Tasmania’s assistant. It was during that session, Mason’s first with the bat since his surgery, that he collapsed due to ongoing heart problems. He died a few days later.

For Brian McFadyen, the Tigers’ head coach who had just accepted a senior coaching role at Cricket Australia’s National Cricket Centre in Brisbane, it was “horrific and, up until now [with Hughes], I’ve never had any experience like it”.

Mason fitted the category of player whose lack of public recognition was balanced by a high level of respect from his peers, particularly his teammates. One of those state teammates was a then little known all-rounder named Shane Watson. So too was Michael Di Venuto, Australia’s batting coach.

Being based in Australia’s smallest state capital city has long made the Tasmanian team close knit, even out of season. Coyle, a now widely respected coach who delivered the eulogy at Mason’s funeral, said that camaraderie proved valuable in coping with the death of ‘Maso’.

“That’s one of the strengths of playing cricket in Tasmania, that you basically stay around the group 12 months of the year . . . they play golf together, they socialise together, their wives and girlfriends are mates,” Coyle said. “At that time it was really important for us to stick together and stay strong and work through that.”

McFadyen, who still works at the National Cricket Centre, reckoned the way Coyle marshalled the players afterwards was a reason he was promoted to the top job, after which then the Tigers broke their shield drought with three titles in eight years, for which Mason was cited as an inspiration.

While Mason remains an admired figure in Tasmanian cricket – a large picture hangs in the Tigers’ dressing rooms – Coyle said for the first year or two afterwards players were still upset about his death, as some still are.

“Time does heal, but those first couple of years there were often times when you thought about him and how good it would be to have him around, not just as a person but as a cricketer.”

Coyle said he struggled to predict what would have occurred had Mason died during the season, as Hughes has, “just on the verge of such a lot of cricket”.

“With what’s transpired, for some people cricket would be the last thing on their mind, but at the end of the day life and cricket will go on. I think Phillip Hughes would want cricket to go on,” he said.

“Some people might come out and say ‘The best thing I can do is come out and play cricket because that’s what Phillip would want me to do and I want to play the best cricket in his honour’, but others will say ‘This game’s too hard’. We just have to respect everyone is going to be a little bit different.”

While not declaring himself an expert, Coyle said his advice to players currently grappling with their emotions in the aftermath of Hughes’ death is to “get as much help as you can”.

“There’s plenty of people out there who are there for you to talk to, be they professional people or people that you trust,” he said.

“One thing you can’t afford to do is just let it bottle up.

“Everyone’s different. Some will take longer than others, and we’ve got to respect that.”

Phillip Hughes: Luck meant doctor was on hand to help

Doctor Tim Stanley at Lake Macquarie Private Hospital. Dr Stanley assisted with treatment of cricket player Phillip Hughes at the SCG. Photo: Simone De Peak Doctor Tim Stanley at Lake Macquarie Private Hospital. Dr Stanley assisted with treatment of cricket player Phillip Hughes at the SCG. Photo: Simone De Peak

Doctor Tim Stanley at Lake Macquarie Private Hospital. Dr Stanley assisted with treatment of cricket player Phillip Hughes at the SCG. Photo: Simone De Peak

Doctor Tim Stanley at Lake Macquarie Private Hospital. Dr Stanley assisted with treatment of cricket player Phillip Hughes at the SCG. Photo: Simone De Peak

Clarke breaks down while addressing mediaDay a blond kid made everyone waitFirst Test up in the airWaugh shares impact death had on his sonTeammates bid farewell in middle of SCGPhillip Hughes, a cut above the rest

It was only  “sheer chance” that Dr Tim Stanley was at the SCG  on Tuesday.

A colleague asked the Newcastle intensive care specialist if he could swap shifts, so with the day off, he headed to the NSW-South Australia Sheffield Shield match with two of his children, Sophie and Dominic.

He couldn’t have imagined the drama that would unfold.

From putting his feet up, watching Phillip Hughes try to bat his way into the Test team, to being out on the ground, trying to save the batsman’s life.

“I saw Phil get hit and he looked like he’d taken a heavy blow,” said Dr Stanley, who works at the Calvary Mater Newcastle and Lake Macquarie Private Hospital.

“I, like everybody else, assumed he would rub it off, be a bit stunned and be OK, but then unfortunately he collapsed forward.”

He recognised Hughes was unconscious in the moment he fell and knew it was serious when umpires and players signalled for help.

Without thinking he made his way to the front of the Members Stand to ask if there was a doctor on hand.

He saw Hughes loaded onto the medicab and went to wait out the front of the SCG where he thought he’d be put into an ambulance.

When no one arrived, he went back to the grounds and saw Dr (John) Orchard giving Hughes mouth-to-mouth.

“Clearly that meant he was much more seriously injured than what I imagined,” Dr Stanley said.

“My first priority then was to establish that he had a pulse – and he did.

“I then asked one of the players if they could keep their hand on his pulse and let me know if it disappeared.”

Dr Stanley called for a medical bag to be brought out to the field.

“There was specialised airway equipment in the bag which was able to provide breathing and ventilation to Phil,” he said.

“It meant Dr Orchard could stop doing mouth to mouth.

“Medical teams and resuscitation work a little bit like cricket teams.

“Everyone has a role to play and it works because you’ve got a group of people doing the work, not necessarily one person on their own.”

Dr Orchard, the NSW cricket team’s doctor, singled Dr Stanley out as being “unbelievably helpful” in the moments before the ambulance arrived.

Dr Stanley said he wanted to extend his deepest sympathies to the Hughes family.

“I did speak very briefly to his mother at the grounds,” he said.

“She didn’t know me and I didn’t know her.

“I couldn’t give her any real information apart from to reassure her that he was stable on his way to hospital, which is where he needed to be.

“Obviously they’re distraught and I offer my deepest sympathies and condolences to them and his teammates.”

Dr Stanley said his attention was focused on Hughes the entire time he was treating him and he didn’t want to comment on criticism levelled at Ambulance NSW for taking 23 minutes to arrive after the first triple-0 call was made.

“The time of transport, as it turned out, would have made no difference to Phil,” Dr Stanley said.

“As we later found out he’s had a very rare and freakish injury which was catastrophic.

“At the time, the equipment I had available was more than I needed to provide care for him until the ambulance arrived.”

Dr Stanley, who is also specialises in emergency medicine, said his actions were what anyone in his profession would have done.

“Most of the general public like me don’t know Phil as a person,” the father-of-four said.

“But we recognise him as a young man who’s a prodigiously talented sportsman and it’s very difficult for people to make sense of what’s a rare and tragic event that takes someone’s life at that age.

“It’s not the first tragic incident that I’ve been involved with, but working in this job doesn’t make you immune to the tragedy or the emotion of what’s really a very sad event.”

Newcastle Herald

Fairfield residents fear post-storm asbestos threat

Residents fear asbestos blown into their street by the storm will become airborne. Photo: suppliedFairfield residents fear dried-out asbestos, which became dislodged during Thursday’s powerful storm, has dried out and become airborne.

And they say Brisbane City Council had not acted on calls before the potentially deadly substance began breaking up on Saturday.

The southside suburb was one of the worst affected in Thursday afternoon’s powerful storm, which Premier Campbell Newman described as the biggest to hit Brisbane in almost 30 years.

The damage bill was expected to top $100 million.

Brougham Street, Fairfield, resident Gavin Jacobi said the material, which he and his neighbours believed to be asbestos, had blown off the roof of an auto-repair garage across the road.

Mr Jacobi said he understood there had been a lot of damage across Brisbane, which was taking up a lot of the emergency response time, but asbestos should be treated as a priority.

“A whole crap-load of the stuff blew on to the road,” he said.

“Everyone rang council and said ‘Look, there’s asbestos on the road – it’s wet at the moment but when it dries out, things are going to start to get nasty’.

“The council said they’d get on to it within an hour, and that was yesterday. Now we’ve got powdered asbestos blowing through the area here.”

Mr Jacobi said asbestos posed a serious health threat and needed to be dealt with.

“With asbestos, if we breathe the stuff in, who knows what will happen 30 years down the road?” he said.

“There’s so much traffic here, you can actually hear the crunching of it breaking up.”

Council crews arrived on Saturday morning after Mr Jacobi had contacted Fairfax Media.

A council spokeswoman said its workers had been co-ordinating with the Queensland Police Service to clear the area.

“As a precaution, some residents and businesses directly adjoining the area where the materials are have been asked to temporarily remain indoors while the clean-up works are undertaken,” she said.

“Temporary traffic control is in place, with signage and direction on site.”

Brougham Street had been closed between the Fairfield Gardens Shopping Centre and Mearns Street, the council spokeswoman said.

Lord Mayor Graham Quirk said people should immediately dampen asbestos with water, and keep it wet, if they saw any of the material among storm debris.

“We ask that if people are concerned about building materials that may be asbestos, to please water it immediately, before contacting council,” he said.

“We will act as quickly as we possibly can, but I just ask people to understand that there is an enormous clean-up task across the city.

“Many homes across the city do still have asbestos in them, so if people do observe building material that has been disturbed as a result of the storm that could be asbestos, please report it so that it can be investigated.”

Claims Goulburn police academy recruits unprepared to use firearms

Teachers at the Police Academy say recruits are being left dangerously unprepared for crime-fighting duties. Photo: Alex EllinghausenLives are being put at risk on NSW streets because of a dumbing-down of teaching programs at the state’s Police Academy, according to insiders at the training college.

And the tertiary education union alleges a culture of bullying, abuse and cronyism at the Goulburn Academy’s School of Policing Studies is further damaging the training of the next generation of NSW cops.

Teachers at the Police Academy say recruits are being left dangerously unprepared for crime-fighting duties after a new curriculum was hastily introduced early this year in a process said to have been driven more by police politics than operational needs.

But NSW Police Force commanders denied on Thursday that there were any problems at the Academy and said any issues with the teaching program at Goulburn had been resolved months ago.

With about 350 rookie cops set to graduate from Goulburn in less than three weeks, police and civilian instructors at the Academy say it has covered up failings in the teaching program, risking lives by putting improperly trained junior officers on the streets.

One firearms trainer has told how a class, toward the end of their training course, showed up for “Tactical Options Scenario” weapons instruction without any knowledge of the legal requirements for using guns or tasers.

There is also trouble among staff working for Charles Sturt University, which delivers the academic modules of the police training course at Goulburn, with the National Tertiary Education Union alleging a culture of bullying and cronyism.

The university denies the union’s claims.

Fairfax understands that senior NSW Police commanders have been briefed about the problems at the Academy but after several months, no action has been taken.

“The curriculum will produce probationary constables unable to perform police work safely and legally (and) it’s creating a risk to the safety of people in NSW,” according to briefing notes prepared by one academy staffer.

A report sent to the leadership of the NSW Police Association by its branch at the Academy and obtained by Fairfax was also blunt in its assessment of the new curriculum which was introduced in January.

“The training of police recruits in NSW is moving backwards,” the report states.

“As the students join the frontline, it is expected this negative impact will have an obvious effect on frontline police, the NSWPF as an organisation and the wider community.”

Officers teaching at the Academy also accuse it of being engaged “in a damage control exercise which seeks to cover up these major problems and hail this curriculum as an outstanding success.”

Fairfax has been told that Education and Training Commander, Assistant Commissioner Michael Corboy was briefed several months ago on the Academy’s staff concerns.

But in response to a series of questions, Commander Corboy said on Thursday that any problems with the teaching program at Goulburn had been resolved months ago.

“The NSW Police Force resolved the issues surrounding our nationally recognised curriculum several months ago and we have regular reviews involving the Police Association,” the senior officer said in a statement.

A spokesman for Charles Sturt University said the NTEU’s report of bullying and harassment among university workers at Goulburn was flawed and that an internal review by the uni had found the school was a safe working environment.

“An internal review found no evidence to support a finding that bullying or harassment is prevalent in the work environment at the Charles Sturt University School of Policing Studies in Goulburn,” the spokesman said.

“An independent review of workplace health and safety, and workplace culture, within the School of Policing Studies is currently underway, and CSU is confident this will confirm the findings of the internal review.”

Phillip Hughes death: Michael Clarke breaks down while addressing media

Michael Clarke Photo: Channel NineLuck meant doctor was on hand to helpDay a blond kid made everyone waitWaugh shares impact death had on his sonTeammates bid farewell in middle of SCGPhillip Hughes, a cut above the rest

A distraught Michael Clarke delivered a touching tribute to Phillip Hughes, saying the Australian dressing room will never be the same without him.

The Australian captain held a media conference on Saturday morning at the Sydney Cricket Ground, the scene of Hughes’ last innings. Speaking on behalf of the Australian cricket team and its support staff, Clarke struggled to get through a prepared statement.

It lasted just two minutes and seven seconds but eloquently summed up the regard in which the Macksville cricketer was held.

“Words cannot express what we all feel as a team right now,” said Clarke, who choked back tears during his address.

“To Greg, Virginia, Jason and Megan, we share in the deep pain you’re feeling.

“Apart from when he was home on the farm with his beloved cattle, Hughesy was at his happiest playing cricket for his country with his mates.

“Things we always put into perspective when Hughesy said: ‘Where else would you rather be, boys, but playing cricket for your country?’

“We are going to miss that cheeky grin and twinkle in his eye.

“He epitomised what the Baggy Green was about and what it means to us all.

“The world lost one of its great blokes this week and we are all poorer for it.

“Our promise to Hughesy’s family is that we will do everything we can to honour his memory.”

Clarke revealed that, at his request, Cricket Australia had retired the left-hander’s Australian one-day-international shirt number, 64, as a mark of respect.

It means so much,” Clarke said.

“His legacy of trying to improve each and every day will drive us for the rest of our lives.

“We’d like to thank everyone both here and overseas for the touching tributes to Hughesy in recent days.

“Our dressing room will never be the same. We loved him and always will. Rest in peace ‘Brussy.'” Our captain @MClarke23 just stood tall again. — Karl Stefanovic (@karlstefanovic) November 28, 2014