Doctors explain the 'rare and freakish' injury that led to Phil Hughes' death

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Sydney, Nov 27: Australia Test opener Phil Hughes died of a "very rare and freakish" injury, the doctors said today.

List - Deaths due to on-field injuries

Hughes, who was admitted to the St Vincent's Hospital on Tuesday (November 25) after being hit in the head by a bouncer during a Sheffield Shield match, passed away today.

Australian team's doctor Peter Brukner and the doctors at the hospital, in an emotional press conference, explained the circumstances that led to the tragic death of the 25-year-old left-hander.

"Phillip took the blow at the side of the neck and as a result of that blow, his vertebral artery - one of the main arteries to the brain - was compressed by the ball," Brukner said.

"That caused the artery to split and for bleeding to go up into the brain. This is frequently fatal at the time. However, Phillip was resuscitated by Dr John Orchard, the Cricket NSW (New South Wales) doctor, and paramedical staff," he added.

The doctors, who treated Hughes, said there had only been 100 cases of vertebral artery dissection. "We haven't seen this type of injury at this hospital, it's very rare, very freakish," Dr Tony Grabs, Head of Trauma at St Vincent Hospital, said.

'The head injury he had suffered was catastrophic. He arrived well incubated and been resuscitated very well,' Dr Grabs added.

Hughes had surgery on Tuesday and Dr Grabs explained, "We had extensive surgery to remove part of the skull around his brain to allow the brain to expand so it wasn't compressed. The surgery took about an hour and 20 minutes or so and he was transferred back to the intensive care unit.

"This would be our normal procedure after this we need to induce a coma to rest the patient and rest the brain and look after all the other bodily functions for him. Over the period of the first 24 to 48 hours... he did not make very much improvement and unfortunately because of his injury, he died."

South Australia's Hughes was batting on 63 not out at the time when he was hit by a bouncer from Sean Abbott, the New South Wales bowler, at the Sydney Cricket Ground (SCG). He was shifted to hospital via an air ambulance, which landed on the outfield of SCG.

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