Rui Patricio is on the road to recovery after suffering a serious head injury during Wolverhampton Wanderers’ 1-0 defeat to Liverpool.
There were distressing scenes at Molineux when the Portuguese shot-stopper lay motionless on the pitch after an accidental collision that saw Conor Coady’s knee collide with his head.
A lengthy stoppage took place where medical staff administered oxygen and stretchered Patricio off the pitch with John Ruddy taking his place as part of a concussion substitution.
Patricio’s worrying injury
Play eventually resumed with seven minutes of stoppage time in which Liverpool closed out the victory, but everybody’s thoughts were with Patricio after such a sickening incident.
Besides, Wolves have been all-too-familiar with serious head injuries this season after Raul Jimenez fractured his skull during an alarming collision against Arsenal in November.
But thankfully, the early signs for Patricio are incredibly encouraging with Wolves boss Nuno Espírito Santo breaking the news that his number eleven was conscious and able to recall the episode.
“He’s okay and he’s conscious,” Santo explained on Sky Sports. “It was a challenge with the knee of Coady, but he’s okay. He remembers everything, he’s okay, he’s going to recover.”
Premier League offside law
So, promising signs indeed, but it doesn’t make the incident any less concerning and it led many football fans, pundits and journalists alike to question the current Premier League laws.
In particular, a debate is ensuing around the rule that assistant referees should not flag offside decisions if they are unsure in order to allow VAR to make a ruling once the move has concluded.
And that was exactly what happened during the phase of play that led to Patricio’s injury with the linesman keeping his flag down until Salah scored, at which point he was shown to be offside.
A complicated issue
Now, of course, it’s worth clarifying that the assistant referee did absolutely nothing wrong here and yes, it is ultimately impossible to know whether an earlier flag would have completely altered events.
However, it’s not difficult to see why there are concerns about the offside ruling because it could open the door for serious injuries taking place within phases of play that will become defunct.
Obviously, if this rule wasn’t implemented, you’d run the risk of incorrect offside decisions being given before attackers had the chance to convert them in the manner they should be allowed to.
But of course, one has to wonder whether that’s really all that important when the health of players are at stake because Patricio’s worrying injury could easily have been much, much worse.
I don’t profess to have the answer here, it must be said, because you can never know for certain when these horrendous injuries are going to come about, but it’s certainly a legitimate debate.
No matter where you stand on it, though, I think we can all come together in wishing Patricio all the best in his recovery and keeping our fingers crossed that nothing similar happens again.