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I didn't lose consciousness after being hit, says Courtois

Adrian Dennis / AFP

The judgement of those who've suffered head injuries is always a little suspect, but Thibaut Courtois' report of what happened last weekend against Arsenal is the only first-hand account we have available, so we might as well pay some attention to what he's saying:

The doctor of Chelsea did well, I think. She asked me the questions she needed to ask and I could repeat immediately so I was feeling well and didn’t have to come off. I didn’t feel I was knocked out but I was hit. I didn’t have a headache or anything, but after a few minutes I felt worse and worse.

Then I started to feel a little dizzy and I couldn’t see the ball anymore, and there was a little blood coming from my ear. Because I saw trouble, I went off. I know you have to be careful, but I was not really knocked out.

-Source: Sky Sports.

While I'm glad Courtois feels like the situation was handled well (his trust in the Chelsea medical staff is more important than my trust in the medical staff), it's also important to note that suffering brain injuries does not make you an automatic expert in them. What is more valuable is his recollection of what happened: he didn't believe he lost consciousness and passed the initial neurological tests set by Dr. Carneiro before developing concussion symptoms and leaving the pitch.

Yes, this is the story of a man who suffered mild brain damage and is therefore more than a little unreliable, but it also fits neatly into what everyone saw, and remains the only actual information we have about what happened on Sunday. The discussion around Chelsea, the Premier League's, and FIFA's procedures for concussions can now continue at, perhaps, a slightly less speculative clip.

After going to hospital for the night, Courtois was then subject to several days worth of testing before being cleared to play again:

I had some neck pains, dizziness, and headaches for a few days afterwards, so that’s why I stayed in England. I had a little confusion I think, and a little blood. I had neurological tests to see if my brain was responding correctly and, after it was okay, I travelled to Belgium.

We're obviously not privy to what those tests were, but assuming everything went as Courtois said here, there's not much reason to be concerned about his standard of care in being assessed for the Belgium game. Chelsea will do basically anything and everything to keep their players off international duty, so even the slightest hiccup on a test would probably have seen the goalkeeper stay home rather than join up with the Red Devils.

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