Liverpool goalkeeper Loris Karius flew to Boston last week to undergo tests for a possible concussion. Some speculated that he had suffered moments before the first of two monumental errors that more or less decided the final of the Champions League in favor of Real Madrid. Today, the doctors who performed the test released a statement saying they believe Karius had really been shocked.
The theory that Karius suffered a concussion during the game arose after a German television station produced a video of the game that provoked a collision between Karius and Real Madrid defender Sergio Ramos:
It is difficult to know exactly what caused the collision of the arm of Ramos and the head of Karius, and it is especially difficult to divorce the incident from the context of the game and the players involved. Ramos has a deserved reputation for his exaggeratedly physical game that extends the rules. More prominently, earlier in that same game, Ramos packed with Liverpool star Mohamed Salah in a takedown that hurt Salah on the shoulder and saw him underestimated soon after.
But while Ramos has a dirty play story, it seems that in the incident in question Liverpool defender Virgil van Dijk pushed Ramos in the back just before hitting Karius. If Van Dijk's push was actually enough to send Ramos stumbling over Karius or if the Spaniard exaggerated the force to hit Karius it is impossible to say.
What is clear is that the doctors believe that the blow, which came only a couple of minutes before Karius threw the ball directly to an opposing player and gave a goal to Real Madrid, It was enough to give the keeper a brain injury. This is what the doctors statement says about the test:
On May 31, 2018, Mr. Karius underwent a thorough examination by Dr. Ross Zafonte and Dr. Lenore Herget in Boston at the Massachusetts General Hospital and Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital.
After carefully reviewing the game film and integrating a detailed story, including the subjective symptoms present and immediately following the contact, the physical examination and the objective measures, we conclude that Mr. Karius suffered a concussion during the game on May 26, 2018.
At the time of our evaluation, the main residual symptoms and objective signs of Mr. Karius suggested that there was possible visual spatial dysfunction and probably occurred immediately after the event. There were also persistent areas of symptomatic dysfunction that were notoriously objective. It is possible that these deficits affect performance.
This information raises more questions than it answers. Anyone is free to speculate on whether this explains and / or justifies the two Karius errors that led directly to the decisive goals in Madrid's 3-1 victory, or on Liverpool's motivations for requesting the test and doing it in Boston (the team owners rely on that city), or any of a number of other considerations in light of the news. What is not debatable is that football has to take head injuries much more seriously than officials currently, for the show itself and especially for the players.