Christopher Kramer wasn't supposed to play in the World Cup final. The young midfielder was told just minutes before kick-off that he'd be replacing the injured Sami Khedira. So you could forgive him if that's why the whole thing seems like a blur to him, but really it's just because of the brain trauma.
In the 17th minute, Kramer took an inadvertent shoulder from Ezequiel Garay that knocked him silly. He was wobbly, but was examined ever-so-briefly along the sideline and sent right back in—only to be taken off in the 30th minute after collapsing again.
"I can't really remember much of the game.
"I don't know anything at all about the first half. I thought later that I left the game immediately after the tackle. I have no idea how I got to the changing rooms. I don't know anything else. In my head, the game starts from the second half."
Holy shit! That sounds really bad. Like the kind of thing that could shorten a career one day, maybe.
But this might be the single starkest illustration of why pro sports' concussion problems won't be addressed unless the decision-making is taken out of the hands of the players and their teams. Kramer, just 23 years old, was never going to ask out of the freaking World Cup Final, and Germany was never going to sub him off unless it was clearly affecting his play.
This isn't the first concussion controversy at this World Cup, as if we needed more evidence that head trauma isn't particularly on FIFA's radar. But of all the suggestions by FIFPro, two seem like they would be immediately effective: 1) Have dazed players examined by an independent physician, and 2) Allow players undergoing the exam to be temporarily substituted for without counting it against the team's limit.