A statement by two doctors at the Massachusetts General Hospital reveals Loris Karius suffered a concussion during the Champions League final which took place on 26 May 2018.
Liverpool lost the game 3-1 and Karius was widely criticised for two goalkeeping errors.
The statement was made by Dr. Ross Zafonte (Senior Vice President of Medical Affairs) and Lenore Hegret (Senior Physical Therapist).
Released with the permission of Karius, it states the goalkeeper “underwent a comprehensive examination” at the hospital which included physical examination, objective metrics and a review of game film.
The doctors state: “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 event.
“Additional symptomatic and objectively noted areas of dysfunction also persisted. It could be possible that such deficits would affect performance.”
Loris Karius suffered a concussion in the Champions League final that may have impacted his performance, Massachusetts General Hospital has confirmed. https://t.co/L8Vmgt9y0l
— ESPN FC (@ESPNFC) June 4, 2018
The doctors did not specify when Karius suffered the concussion, though he appeared to be struck by an elbow to the head from Real Madrid defender Sergio Ramos early in the second half, before either side had scored a goal.
Karius, a 24-year-old who joined Liverpool in May 2016, was widely ridiculed for his performance. The ABC suggested his two gaffes would condemn him to the “colony of vilified sportsmen”.
In the 51st minute of the final, Karius made a routine collection of the ball but proceeded to throw it into opposing forward Karim Benzema, gifting Real Madrid the opening goal. In the 83rd minute, he appeared to have made an easy save of a long-range Gareth Bale shot, only to feebly tap the ball into his own goal. The mistake was described as “awful” and a “hideous howler” in The Guardian’s match coverage.
Real Madrid’s other goal came via a spectacular Gareth Bale bicycle kick that Karius had no hope of saving.
After the match, Karius was reduced to tears. He apologised to Liverpool fans during an emotional interview with talkSPORT.
“My mistakes have lost the team the final,” he said. “I’m sorry to everyone.”
Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp empathised with his player.
“It’s a shame it was in a game like this, after a season like this. I really feel for him, a fantastic boy.”
Karius issued further apologies in a series of tweets after the day after the game, where he said he had not been able to sleep after his performance.
Haven’t really slept until now… the scenes are still running through my head again and again… I'm infinitely sorry to my teammates, for you fans, and for all the staff. I know that I messed it up with the two mistakes and let you all down… pic.twitter.com/w9GixPiQDC
— Loris Karius (@LorisKarius) May 27, 2018
“They will stay with you for the rest of your life”
After the match, Karius’s mistakes were widely criticised and ridiculed. The BBC described his errors as “as bad as it gets for a goalkeeper on a showpiece occasion”.
He was even subject to death threats and vitriol on social media, prompting Merseyside Police to issue a statement which read: “Merseyside Police would like to remind social media users that any offences including malicious communications and threatening behaviour will be investigated.”
The statement from Massachusetts General Hospital goes on to say the doctors expect Karius to make a “full recovery” from the concussion. The psychological effects may be harder to shake.
Former Liverpool and England goalkeeper Ray Clemence gave BBC Radio 5 Live some insight into the anguish goalkeepers can feel when they make mistakes in high stakes games like a Champions League final.
“It’s going to be difficult for him, that’s a certainty, because wherever he goes away from home he’s going to be continually reminded of it,” Clemence said.
“When you make two errors like that, it is difficult…They will stay with you for the rest of your life. People will remember them. It’s watched by hundreds of millions of people around the world. And it’s a final, it’s amplified.”