Ashes 2021-22: Cricket’s bio-secure bubbles must avoid mental health check-up: medical chief
âWe hope that the following seasons will see the vaccination of players and staff and a gradual relaxation of the necessary protocols that will allow the players to return to relative normality. Until then, it will take a balance of protocols to keep COVID out of sport, but with a level of rigor that doesn’t put undue strain on the mental health of participants. “
In the same newsletter, Professional Cricketers Association Director of Development and Welfare Services Ian Thomas explained the growing costs of biosecurity for the mental health of cricketers. Since the start of the global pandemic, English players have toured much more widely and often than Australia’s.
âI don’t think people really understand what it’s like to be in a bio-secure bubble and the engagement that is required, until you’ve been in that bubble,â Thomas said. “I attended a call yesterday where a study was conducted on this by the ECB and I think the exhaustion and almost entrapment of players in these bio-secure bubbles should not be underestimated.”
Ben Stokes retired from the game earlier this year and it seems unlikely he will return in time for the Ashes. Tom Banton of the Brisbane Heat, meanwhile, recently retired from the Big Bash League this summer to spend more time at his home in the UK. Thomas said the time spent away from family and friends added up.
âOne of the most important things that shouldn’t be underestimated, aside from cricket, is the players’ loss of contact with their friends and family,â said Thomas. âYes they can use FaceTime, but we’re all exhausted from living on screens and it’s a huge commitment to say ‘I’m going to stay at the hotel with my teammates so we can play cricket’, but they can not see their families for weeks.
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