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After a wave of migraines hit Team Liquid’s Lucas “Santorin” Larsen during the League of Legends Challenger Series Mid Season Showdown, he voluntarily benched himself for the betterment of the team. They were on the home stretch to qualify for the Mid-Season Invitational in Reykjavík, but had to play out their final two series with a substitute in the jungle. With Jonathan “Armao” Armao stepping up, they beat TSM handily, but they fell to Cloud9 3-2 in the finals.
Santorin didn’t just have a headache, he had light sensitivity, nausea, dizziness, pressure and more, prompting his decision to sit on the sidelines and a full-on journey of recovery that would last through the summer.
He began experiencing headaches near the very beginning of the spring playoffs. At first, he played through them, beating 100 Thieves 3-0 in Round 1, but by their Round 2 series against C9, it was already ramping up. “Playing the C9 match, I was kind of miserable,” he recalled. “I had a lot of pain and I couldn’t really focus.”
After that series, he discussed subbing out with his team, at least until his health improved. But things got worse before they got better. “When the Finals came along, I was unable to even look at the screen.”
Santorin continued to struggle with health problems on Team Liquid
Luckily for Santorin, the intensity of the pain and the more severe side effects didn’t last too long. But on the flip side, the headaches still continued into the summer, even after the mid-season break. After beginning the summer split in the starting lineup for three weeks, Santorin and Team Liquid made the tough decision to sub him out again; his pain had started to worsen.
He went through a long series of tests and spoke with multiple medical professionals about what could be causing his ailment, but none were ever able to pinpoint the issue and give a diagnosis. He tried a whole slew of different possible remedies, even staying off a PC for three straight weeks, but although his pain lessened, nothing fixed the issue outright.
It wasn’t until Week 9 that he was able to feel confident in his ability to concentrate, perform and enjoy the game. “Finally, I could actually return and feel comfortable doing it and I don’t feel like it’s because I’m getting pushed by anyone, I actually want to come back,” he said.
Now, he and the team are in their qualifying match for Worlds 2021. They beat C9 in their first series of the LCS 2021 playoffs, and they will play against TSM in Round 2. The winner guarantees their spot at Worlds, the loser would drop to the lower bracket and need two more series victories to qualify. But he is determined to skip out on the lower bracket altogether, especially as their upcoming match is against his former team, recent teammate and coach. “I really hope we can smash TSM. There’s a lot on the line, especially for me… I cannot lose to them, I refuse. I have to beat them.”
Santorin is ready to play again just in time for the 2021 LCS summer playoffs, he reflects on the past before looking toward the future. Watch the full interview with Santorin discussing his recent health journey, his time off from League and his expectations for playoffs at the top of the page.
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League of Legends esports reporter and photographer for half a decade. Sometimes I try to touch grass.