Soccer field

After surviving cardiac arrest on a football pitch, Christian Eriksen will wear a heart device

By MATTIAS KAREN, Associated Press

COPENHAGEN (AP) — Christian Eriksen will be fitted with an implantable device to monitor his heart rate, the Danish soccer federation announced Thursday.

Eriksen, 29, is recovering in a hospital in Copenhagen after suffering cardiac arrest during Denmark’s game against Finland at the European Championship.

The Danish FA said doctors determined Eriksen needed an implantable cardioverter defibrillator.

“This device is necessary after a heart attack due to arrhythmias,” the federation said in a statement. “Christian accepted the solution and the plan has also been confirmed by national and international specialists who all recommend the same treatment. We encourage everyone to give Christian and his family peace and privacy next time.

An ICD monitors a person’s heart rhythm and can send electrical impulses to restore a normal rhythm if necessary.

Dutch defender Daley Blind still plays professionally with an ICD. He had one fitted after being diagnosed with heart muscle inflammation in 2019.

Christian Eriksen during a soccer match between Inter Milan and Fiorentina, at the San Siro stadium in Milan, Italy, Wednesday, July 22, 2020. (Luca Bruno, AP/file)PA

Denmark take on Belgium in their second match of Euro 2020 on Thursday. The game will feature a one-minute applause for Eriksen in the 10th minute in honor of his national team No.10 jersey.

One of the doctors who helped treat Eriksen on the pitch told German media that the midfielder could speak and think clearly immediately after being revived with a defibrillator.

UEFA chief medical officer Jens Kleinefeld said the defibrillator was used after a few minutes of cardiac massage.

“About 30 seconds later the player opened his eyes and I was able to talk to him directly,” Kleinefeld said in an interview with Germany’s Funke media group. “It was a very emotional moment, because with such medical emergencies in everyday life, the chances of success are much lower. Eriksen looked at me and I asked him, ‘Well, are you back with us?’ And he said, ‘Yes, I’m with you again.’

Kleinefeld said Eriksen also said, “Damn, I’m only 29.”

“Then I knew the brain was undamaged and completely restored,” Kleinefeld said.

Kleinefeld said Eriksen could follow instructions to put his hands on his chest as they prepared to transport him to hospital.

UEFA sent a video to the Danish FA on Thursday containing messages of support for Eriksen from the other 23 teams in the tournament, as well as governing body president Aleksander Ceferin and the referees.

“I’m so happy to see you better and in good hands,” said French goalkeeper Hugo Llories, who was Eriksen’s team-mate at Tottenham.

Ceferin said the incident “made us all realize how fragile our lives are”.


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