Warning: Graphic photo below...
GRAMPIANS Cricket Association is considering a mandate regarding helmets.
The investigation commenced after a ball hit Halls Gap cricketer Brian Driscoll in the head during a practice match.
Driscoll was rushed to Stawell Regional Health and referred on to specialists where he received 26 internal and external stitches.
Driscoll, a batsman who has played cricket for more than 15 years, said he had never worn a helmet while playing cricket.
"I was heading into my last few seasons of cricket and I wasn't brought up with wearing a helmet while playing," he said.
"It's foreign for those of my generation to wear one. Plenty of people have said, 'Why weren't you wearing a helmet?'
"I realise now, you just have to do it. One false shot and it hits you in the temple it could have been a very different outcome."
Facing a Wickliffe-Lake Bolac bowler during the 30-over practice match, Driscoll said the game was "pretty low key".
"I was seeing the ball OK and the bowler I was facing wasn't one of the quickest bowlers," he said.
"I went to play a bit of a pull shot-hook shot and missed it and the ball hit me in the head.
"I put my head down into my glove and blood started pouring into the glove."
Driscoll thought the incident would be a quick fix requiring a few stitches in an emergency department.
"We ended up having to go to Sunshine Hospital to a specialist plastic surgeon who could perform micro stitching," he said.
"I had 18 stitches and eight internal ones. The doctors did an amazing job. Everything has healed up really well."
Driscoll said the gravity of the incident "hit home" following the doctor's assessment.
"When he started talking about plastic surgery, I thought to myself: 'Why didn't you have a helmet on?'" he said.
"Being a practice match, too, it was a bit more casual and everyone was taking it easy.
"Wickliffe-Lake Bolac was very good and helped administer first aid. It wasn't an aggressive bowl - it was more my misjudgement than anything."
"If it takes someone to be hit and a head split open for others to think about it, then there has been a positive out of the situation."Brian Driscoll
When organising his equipment at the start of the season, Driscoll said he tried on a helmet but decided not to go ahead with the purchase.
"I didn't think I could do it," he said. "I've had a few near misses over the years and body shots and bruises.
"Because I knew I was nearing the end of my career, I thought I would be fine.
"I've gone down and purchased a helmet and I will be wearing one. I know there are a lot of players around my age who are now thinking twice about not wearing a helmet.
"If it takes someone to be hit and a head split open for others to think about it, then there has been a positive out of the situation."
The association's president David Turner said he was shocked when he heard about Driscoll's injury.
"I've played with Brian in the past and it was disappointing to see this happen to a player," he said.
"The association had adopted the stance of strongly recommending all players to wear helmets. The issue was brought to our attention from Central Highlands some time ago."
Mr Turner said the association was investigating making wearing safety equipment compulsory.
"There are lots to look into about the legalities of bringing in something like this," he said.
"If clubs are willing to take the step, there's no reason why they couldn't look into it.
"The rest of the equipment cricketers are obligated to wear is not compulsory either.
"For now the association are following the stance to say we strongly recommend it."
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