Chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE), which can only be diagnosed after an autopsy, is caused by repeated blows to the brain over a prolonged period.

Head blows are rare in cricket in comparison to other sports like rugby or American football, however they are a serious risk for those competing at the highest level.

High-profile examples over the last couple of years include Philip Hughes who was killed by a cricket ball striking his neck and head during an Australian regional fixture.

Cricket Australia (CA) has been proactive in this sector following an inquiry into Hughes’ death, having introduced greater testing for concussion at a national level.

It has also successfully lobbied the International Cricket Council (ICC) to introduce concussion substitutions to international cricket.

Concussion substitutions were first used last month at the first Ashes test match at Edgbastion.

Chris Nowinski, chief executive of the Concussion Legacy Foundation (CLF), is pleased that CA is fighting against the cricket traditionalists to improve safety.

“I’ve been fighting this battle for 15 years, so I’m no longer surprised when it takes much longer than it should to provide safety for athletes,” he told the Australian Associated Press (AAP).

Nowinski and the CLF run the Global Brain Bank initiative and launched the ‘brain pledge’ campaign to bolster research samples for CTE.

The brain bank has experienced increased pledges from Australia, which Nowinski describes as “incredible” – although there are no cricketers are among those that have signed up.

But Nowinski is seeking to change this: “We’d welcome [pledges from cricketers] … I’d encourage anybody who wasn’t planning to do anything with their brain after they pass away to pledge it. All athletes are in this together,” he said.

Click here to join the brain pledge.