Doctors in Boston have concluded that the German goalkeeper suffered concussion after a collision with Real Madrid's Sergio Ramos. The report comes amid calls for increased awareness of the dangers of head injuries.
Liverpool's German goalkeeper, Loris Karius, sustained a concussion during his team's 3-1 defeat to Real Madrid in the Champions League final last month, according to Massachusetts General Hospital in the US city of Boston, where the 24-year-old was examined.
In a statement released on Monday, doctors Ross Zafonte and Lenore Herget, who conducted the examination, said that a collision with Real Madrid captain Sergio Ramos in the 49th minute of the match had led to "visual spatial dysfunction," which may have contributed to two major errors committed by the goalkeeper.
The first error occured only two minutes after the collision when Karius attempted to roll the ball to a teammate, but inadvertently gifted it to Madrid striker Karim Benzema, leading to the opening goal. Later in the game, Karius mishandled a long-range Gareth Bale shot, fumbling the ball into the net to make the final score 3-1.
"After carefully reviewing game film and integrating a detailed history, physical examination and objective metrics, we have concluded that Mr. Karius sustained a concussion during the match May 26, 2018," the statement from the hospital said.
"At the time of our evaluation, Mr. Karius's principal residual symptoms and objective signs suggested that visual spatial dysfunction existed and likely occurred immediately following the [collision]," the statement continued, adding: "It could be possible that such deficits would affect performance."
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Spotlight on head injuries
The diagnosis comes as the topic of head injuries in football continues to make headlines. According to a recent study carried out by Virginia Tech university, over 60 percent of footballers suffer concussions each year.
During the 2014 World Cup final in Brazil, German midfielder Christoph Kramer infamously asked his team doctor "Is this the World Cup final?" after suffering a blow to the head, and experts have called for a change of culture.
"Lack of awareness of the dangers of head injuries is a big problem, especially in football," Dr. Tim Niedergassel, team physician for Arminia Bielefeld and former physician for Hamburg, told DW last month, adding that a basic neurological check should be the minimum requirement in the wake of head injuries.
Liverpool Football Club have not responded to the statement, although it is understood that the club's medical department supported Karius' decision to get checked out while on holiday in the United States.
Reassuringly, the specialists also concluded that Karius had shown a "significant and steady improvement since the concussive event" and that "we expect him to make a full recovery."