The life of a goalkeeper is often understated but can be fraught with danger. The last line of defense often puts his or her body to the test in order to stop an opposing player from scoring, whether that be throwing themselves to the ground to prevent a low drive from sneaking in or stretching his or her body upwards to palm over a stinging drive. Playing between two sticks and a cross bar can also be dangerous with most goalkeepers being able to tell of at least one close encounter with the wooden or metal frame. But not many will be able to testify to being shot in the head like Bosnian stopper Dusko Krtalica can. The 51 year old amateur goalie, who was playing in the Sarajevo suburb of Boljakov Potok in a tournament, was shot in the head by a stray bullet from a nearby wedding.
It wasn’t until after the game, and when the adrenaline had subsided that Krtalica soon complained of a headache, which he naturally assumed was from a collision with one of the posts during the game as he dived to make a save. However as the pain increased and he began to have other complications, such as speaking and lifting his arm, friends took him to a local hospital where doctors discovered a 9mm bullet lodged in his head. He was immediately rushed into surgery where the bullet was removed and then kept in hospital for several weeks following the incident for rest and recuperation. Police arrested a 42 year old man names Seyne Ligata in connection with the shooting who had been attending a wedding nearby when the gun was fired.
The remarkable piece of the story is that Krtalica actually played the entire 90 minutes of the match, mostly because he was unaware that he had been shot and only conceded one goal which shows how dedicated he is to his team it their success on the pitch. Even more remarkable is the fact that Krtalica wasn’t killed as could easily have happened if the bullet was only a few inches to the left or right. Regardless Krtalica is expected to make a full recover and is hoping to start playing again soon. This whole story really gives new meaning to the phrase taking one for the team.