Will Pucovski and the concussion dilemma

There’s been much talk in recent days about who Australia should be picking for the third Test against India, which starts Thursday.

Will Pucovski’s re-inclusion in the Test squad has put him in the running to make his Test debut, although the Victorian’s concussion last month brings uncertainty to the decision.

The dilemma is that Pucovski has impressed enough in Shield cricket to make the jump to Test cricket, but the nine concussions he’s suffered by the age of 22 raises questions, in my mind at least, of whether it’s better to take extra care and hold off the Test debut for a bit.

You would expect the decision to be made upon the advice of medical professionals, and not simply upon Pucovski being the young talent that could continue to blossom in the Australian Test team.

The thing to consider in my opinion is what the long-term impacts for Pucovski are.

Some of his concussions were sustained while playing footy, but his approach to the short ball leaves a lot to be desired, and leaves him vulnerable to further injury.

Perhaps Australia can take a leaf out of their own book from when they chose to leave Steve Smith out of the side for last September’s one-day series against England after Smith received a knock to the head during a net session.

The decision was made with Smith’s prior history of concussion from the 2019 Ashes in mind, and a similar approach would be suitable in Pucovski’s case.

Cricket may not be a full contact sport like rugby, but the stories of players from both rugby codes who have suffered head injuries are a stark reminder of the lasting impacts of such an injury.

Take Leeds Rhinos captain Stevie Ward as an example.

His career could be over at the age of just 27 thanks to concussions leaving him with constant migraines, balance and coordination issues, and slurred speech.

You don’t want anyone to go through that at such a relatively young age.

Pucovski may feel fine now after recovering from his last concussion, but who knows what the future holds for him?

Of course, I do not wish anything bad on Pucovski, but I think it’s worth just keeping in mind what the potential long-term impacts are of the concussions he has suffered.

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