Copenhagen (AFP) – Danish star Christian Eriksen, who suffered a cardiac arrest during his country’s Euro 2020 opener last weekend, will have a heart defibrillator implanted, the Danish Football Union (DBU) announced Thursday.
In a scene that shocked the sporting world and beyond, the 29-year-old Inter Milan midfielder suddenly collapsed on the field in the 43rd minute of Denmark’s Group B game on Saturday against Finland in Copenhagen.
Medical personnel administered CPR as he lay motionless on the field as some 16,000 fans in attendance watched.
This continued for about 15 minutes before he was carried off the pitch and rushed to hospital, and it was later confirmed that he had suffered cardiac arrest.
“After Christian has been through different heart examinations it has been decided that he should have an ICD (heart starter),” the Danish football body said in a statement on Twitter.
The device, which is an improved variant of a pacemaker, is “necessary after a cardiac attack due to rhythm disturbances,” it added.
Like a conventional pacemaker, the device sends out electrical impulses when the heart rate is too slow, in order to avoid a cardiac arrest. In addition to this function, it can also treat a rhythm that is too fast.
DBU provided no details on the potential consequences for the 29-year-old Inter Milan player’s future career, and encouraged people to give Eriksen and his family “peace and privacy.”
Players, such as Dutchman Daley Blind, have been able to resume their careers after being fitted with the device.
Eriksen “has accepted the solution” and it had also been “confirmed by specialists nationally and internationally who all recommend the same treatment,” DBU said.
– ‘Damn, I’m only 29’ –
The announcement of the medical procedure comes hours before the kick-off to Denmark’s next match against Belgium, where a tribute to the Danish number 10 is scheduled to take place in the 10th minute of the match, with fans planning a minute’s applause in support of Eriksen.
The former Premier League player might even be able to hear it from his bed as Rigshospitalet where he has been for the past five days is barely a kilometre as the crow flies from ‘Parken’, the Danish national stadium in Copenhagen.
Coach Kasper Hjulmand has even noted that Eriksen has a view of the stadium from his window.
German doctor Jens Kleinefeld, who treated Eriksen on the pitch, revealed in an interview with the Funke media group that Eriksen regained consciousness after the use of an emergency defibrillator.
Kleinefeld said he looked at the Inter Milan midfielder and asked him, “Well, are you back with us?”
Eriksen answered, “Yes, I am back with you” and, “Damn, I’m only 29 years old,” the doctor said.
After the dramatic scenes the Danes’ second game of the Euros will be an “emotional” return to the pitch, Hjulmand said Wednesday.
“We expect to have incredible support from our fans and from the whole country,” Hjulmand said at a press conference.
“We have to be ready for that and use this energy in a positive way,” he added.
After their defeat against Finland, who scored in the second half after the game was resumed on Saturday, a loss against Belgium, ranked number one by FIFA, would severely damage their chances of moving forward to the knockot stages.
Belgium striker Romelu Lukaku, who scored twice in their 3-0 win over Russia, said the players would kick the ball out of play for the minute’s applause.