A mystery lung condition has forced Australian pace bowler John Hastings to put his career on hold.
The 32-year-old fast bowler has recently suffered from bleeding in his lungs when bowling. Hastings has since undergone multiple medical tests, all of which have proved inconclusive.
This is not the first time that Hastings has had bleeding in the lungs after first experiencing the symptoms a few years ago. Previously, it had been something that occurred once or twice a season but the issue has progressively worsened in recent months.
The more frequent nature of the mystery condition has forced Hastings, who retired from ODI and Test cricket last year to concentrate on T20 cricket, to take an indefinite break from the game until his health improves.
Speaking to RSN, Hastings said: “It’s something that, over probably the last three or four months, has been a really difficult period for me. It’s basically every time I’ve been trying to gear up and get ready to bowl, I’ve been coughing up blood.
“What’s happened is basically I won’t be able to bowl this year or probably moving forward unless this sort of situation gets sorted out. It’s just something that they can’t say, ‘look, you’re not going to have a fatal bleed on the field’ or it’s not going to cause long-term damage.
“It’s pretty shattering. I’ve come to terms with it now, but over the last four or five months it’s been a very, very tough period. I’ve played this game my whole life and I wanted to keep playing it. I wanted to play tournaments all around the world. That’s one of the reasons I retired early from one-day and four-day cricket.”
Bizarrely, the symptoms seems to only occur when Hastings is bowling and never when he engages in other forms of physical activity. “Every time I’m bowling now, it’s happening,” he said. “It’s literally just bowling. It’s not running. I can do boxing weight sessions, rowing, anything like that, but as soon as the pressure [of bowling] at the crease at match intensity, when I step it up, literally I burst blood vessels in my lungs and I walk back to my mark and cough up some blood.
“So it’s pretty scary, but they can’t tell for sure it’s not going to cause long-term damage. There’s a lot of grey area surrounding it. It’s not a very nice thing to have happened at the moment.”