By Prof Dr Ian Blackshaw
The postponed 2020 Euro Tournament got off to a dramatic start with the collapse, just before half-time, of 29-year old Danish midfielder, Christian Eriksen, in the match between Denmark and Finland on 12 June 2021.
Eriksen suffered a cardiac arrest and, as a result of the prompt on field medical attention, survived!
About 30 seconds after being treated with a defibrillator by the German Doctor, Jens Kleinfeld, who attended him on the pitch, told the media:
“He opened his eyes and I could talk to him directly. That was a very moving moment, because in such medical emergencies in every-day life, the chances of success are much lower.”
Kleinfeld then asked Eriksen:
“Well, are you back with us?”
“Yes, I am back with you …. [and] …. damn, I’m only 29 years old.”
“That’s when I knew the brain wasn’t damaged and he had fully returned.”
Eriksen is making a good recovery in hospital and will be fitted with a heart-starting device, known as an ‘implantable cardioverter defibrillator’ (ICD).
According to the Danish team Doctor, Morten Boesen, the ICD is “necessary due to rhythm disturbances.”
Netherlands and Ajax defender, Daley Blind, had an ICD fitted after being diagnosed with a heart condition in December 2019 and returned to playing in February 2020.
However, former England cricketer, James Taylor, had his sporting career ended by heart issues in 2016, despite being fitted with an ICD.
The Eriksen scare underlines the importance of sportspersons being regularly screened for heart issues and also the need to have defibrillators and medical assistance on hand at sporting venues!