Christian Eriksen was given emergency CPR on the pitch after collapsing just before half-time in Saturday's game between Denmark and Finland; team doctor Morten Boesen said 29-year-old was "gone", but swift intervention of Simon Kjaer and medical staff saved his life
Wednesday 16 June 2021 09:04, UK
Christian Eriksen has expressed his thanks for the goodwill messages he has received after suffering a cardiac arrest during Denmark's Euro 2020 opener, and says he is "fine, under the circumstances".
Eriksen was given emergency CPR on the pitch during Saturday's game against Finland, which was temporarily suspended as the 29-year-old was taken to Rigshospitalet, a hospital near the Parken Stadium in Copenhagen.
Denmark team doctor Morten Boesen said Eriksen was "gone", but swift treatment on the field of play and by hospital staff meant the midfielder was stabilised, and he was later able to send his greetings to team-mates.
Eriksen has now addressed the public for the first time since the incident via a tweet from the Danish FA's account, which read: "Hello everyone. Big thanks for your sweet and amazing greetings and messages from all around the world. It means a lot to me and my family.
"I'm fine - under the circumstances. I still have to go through some examinations at the hospital, but I feel okay.
"Now, I will cheer on the boys on the Denmark team in the next matches. Play for all of Denmark. Best, Christian."
Denmark went on to lose to Finland after the game was restarted on Saturday evening, meaning they will be desperate to pick up their first points of the tournament when they take on Belgium on Thursday.
They will of course do so without the midfielder, but manager Kasper Hjulmand said: "I have said that Eriksen is the heart, the pulse, the rhythm of our team. He has an incredible ability to perceive time, space and rhythm in a football match.
"He won't be there on Thursday - we have a lot of other players who can contribute, and skilled players who can also find the rhythm of the match. We are putting something together that will be difficult for Belgium, I'm sure of that."
The game against Belgium will take place at the Parken Stadium, meaning Denmark's players will return and compete at the scene of Eriksen's collapse less than a week after the incident.
Hjulmand accepts it could be a tough task for his team, saying: "It's totally OK if someone does not have the emotions needed to not give everything in the game.
"We need to prepare for an emotional trip to Parken. It will be a special atmosphere. We have to prepare mentally, the players are used to that.
"What are some of the emotions that can hit us? It's going to be weird to come back, we're going to be met with a lot of emotions."
Those emotions will not be limited to the Danes, though. Belgium striker Romelu Lukaku plays alongside Eriksen at Inter Milan, and celebrated one of his goals against Russia on Saturday by running to a TV camera and saying, "Chris, Chris, I love you."
Belgium defender Toby Alderweireld is a former team-mate of Eriksen from their time together at Tottenham, and he told the Belgian FA's website: "How the (the Danes) handled that situation is incredible.
"A textbook example, and for that they have my eternal respect.
The swift intervention of Denmark captain Simon Kjaer, who was one of the first people to attend to Eriksen after he collapsed, and the medical staff saved the midfielder's life.
"[Eriksen] was gone," Denmark's team doctor Boesen said. "We did cardiac resuscitation, it was a cardiac arrest. How close were we to losing him? I don't know but we got him back after one defib, so that's quite fast."
Eriksen's sudden collapse prompted Kjaer to clear his team-mate's airways and start the life-saving CPR technique, which was continued with the aid of a defibrillator by professional medical staff.
The Denmark captain's first aid skills proved vital and Eriksen is now recovering in hospital and considered to be out of danger.
CPR is quite easy to learn and it can be the difference between life and death before emergency medical services can arrive to help out.
So what is it, how does it make a difference and how should you behave if you find yourself in an emergency?
CPR stands for cardiopulmonary resuscitation and is a medical technique which is given to someone who goes into cardiac arrest.
That occurs when the heart encounters an electrical issue and stops pumping blood around the body and to the brain, causing the person to fall out of consciousness and stop breathing.
Medics define this as 'clinical death', which is the onset of biological death, although CPR can help re-start the person's heart functions and save their life.
By administering chest compressions and rescue breaths, the CPR performer helps to pump blood and oxygen around the person's body, taking over the role of their heart and lungs.
"Time is myocardium, that's what we say in medicine - that means the longer that there is a time delay, the higher the chance that the heart muscle will never recover," Professor of Cardiology Dr Sanjay Sharma told Sky Sports News.
"In fact for every minute that passes, the chances of an individual surviving go down by between seven and 10 per cent. So it's very, very crucial to keep the heart beating during these crucial moments and get the heart started as quickly as possible.
"Not just so that the cardiac outcome will be good, but also that the other organs, such as the brain, remain well perfused so that the individual after survival remains healthy."
Always seek professional help by calling 999 before starting CPR.
The NHS's advice to carry out chest compressions is as follows:
The British Heart Foundation recommends that in an emergency situation it is better to try and perform CPR, even if unsure, rather than to not do anything at all.
Dr Andrew Deaner, who treated Fabrice Muamba when he suffered a cardiac arrest nine years ago, praised the speedy medical response after Christian Eriksen collapsed.
"In many ways, Christian has reacted to CPR and defibrillation in the way we would have expected Fabrice to," he told Sky Sports News.
"We were obviously really disappointed and surprised that Fabrice didn't come around so quickly, fortunately by continuing CPR and other advanced resuscitation efforts we managed to save Fabrice, but after being unconscious for a much longer time.
"The norm is what happened with Christian, that if CPR is started effectively you have early access to defibrillators and get a positive result.
"I think it's just another example that everybody should recognise the importance of early CPR, learn how to do CPR and make sure that you have defibrillators available quickly."
For more information on FA medical courses which can help to deal with such things as cardiac arrest and how to treat them, visit the FA Bootroom.