17 June 2021

Christian Eriksen to have ‘heart starter’ implant after on-pitch collapse

17 June 2021

Denmark midfielder Christian Eriksen is to be fitted with a defibrillator implant, the national team doctor has confirmed.

The 29-year-old Inter Milan midfielder had to be resuscitated on the pitch at the Parken Stadium in Copenhagen after slumping to the ground during the first half of his side’s 1-0 Euro 2020 Group B defeat to Finland on Saturday evening.

Eriksen regained consciousness before being taken to hospital, where medics continue to work to identify what caused his cardiac arrest and have chosen to fit an implantable cardioverter defibrillator (ICD).

Providing an update on his status on Thursday, Denmark team doctor Morten Boesen said: “After Christian has been through different heart examinations it has been decided that he should have an ICD (heart starter).

“This device is necessary after cardiac attack due to rhythm disturbances.

“Christian has accepted the solution and the plan has moreover been confirmed by specialists nationally and internationally who all recommend the same treatment.

“We encourage everybody to give Christian and his family peace and privacy (in) the following time.”

The football world was stunned as events unfolded in front of millions on television on Saturday, and Eriksen thanked those who had sent messages of support in an Instagram post on Tuesday in which he said he was “fine – under the circumstances”.

His team-mates chose to complete the Finland game later on Saturday evening having been offered the option to return the following day.

Denmark have this week been preparing for their second group fixture against Belgium and will return to the Parken Stadium in Copenhagen for that match on Thursday night.

Captain Simon Kjaer believes the game will give Denmark “peace in our minds” as they “play for Christian”.

In a statement thanking everyone for their support, Kjaer said: “It has been some very special days, where football has not been the most important thing.

“A shock, that will be part of me – part of all of us – forever. The only thing that is important and really matters, is that Christian is OK.

“I am proud of how we reacted as a team and how we stood together in these difficult times. I am touched and grateful for all of the support.

“Today, we will enter the pitch against Belgium with Christian in our hearts and thoughts. It gives us peace in our minds, which allows us to focus on the game of football.

“We will play for Christian, and as always for all of Denmark. This is the greatest motivation for us all.”

Meanwhile, professor Sanjay Sharma, who chairs the Football Association’s expert cardiac consensus group, has expressed strong doubts over Eriksen playing professionally again after Saturday’s incident and told the PA news agency: “In the UK we’d be very strict about it.”

Daley Blind, a close friend and former Ajax team-mate of Eriksen, has played in Holland with an ICD fitted since twice experiencing cardiac symptoms during matches in 2019 and 2020. Blind was visibly emotional after he was substituted during Holland’s win over Ukraine, the day after Eriksen’s collapse.

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