Israeli cricket umpire dies after hit by ball in Ashdod game
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Israeli cricket umpire dies after hit by ball in Ashdod game

Ball strikes official Hillel Oscar in the face, knocking him unconscious; hospital unable to save his life

Medical personnel at the scene of an Ashdod cricket game, in which an umpire died after he was hit by the ball, November 29, 2014 (Channel 10 screenshot)
Medical personnel at the scene of an Ashdod cricket game, in which an umpire died after he was hit by the ball, November 29, 2014 (Channel 10 screenshot)

A 60-year-old man died after he was hit by the ball Saturday while refereeing a cricket match in the Israeli coastal city of Ashdod.

The umpire, Hillel Oscar of Ashdod, was taken to a local hospital unconscious after being struck in the head by a ball during a game, but doctors were unable to save his life.

The incident came a few days after a 25-year-old Australian cricketer died after being hit at the base of the neck by a ball. Phillip Hughes suffered a dissected vertebral artery. His death was a very rare instance of cricket players dying on the field.

Saturday’s game took place on a pitch across the street from the police station in Ashdod.

One of the players told Channel 10 that the incident happened when a batsman struck a ball with tremendous power and it rebounded off the stumps and hit Oscar.

“The ball flew in the direction of the umpire with great force, struck the wicket and hit him in the face,” the player said.

Oscar was not wearing a protective helmet, the player added. Umpires in cricket do not wear such helmets, since the likelihood of injury is regarded as extremely low. However, death is not entirely unprecedented. In Wales five years ago, a 72-year-old umpire died after he was hit on the head by a ball thrown by a fielder.

When paramedics arrived at the Ashdod game, the man wasn’t breathing and didn’t have a pulse.

He was rushed to Ashkelon’s Barzilai Hospital, but doctors were unable to save his life.

Police said on Twitter that they’d opened an investigation into the incident.

Players and police at the scene of Ashdod cricket game, in which an umpire died after he was hit by the ball, November 29, 2014 (Channel 10 screenshot)
Players and police at the scene of Ashdod cricket game, in which an umpire died after he was hit by the ball, November 29, 2014 (Channel 10 screenshot)
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