Eriken to receive heart ICD implant after suffering cardiac arrest on field during Euro 2020
Paramedics using a stretcher to take out of the pitch Denmark's Christian Eriksen after he collapsed during the Euro 2020 soccer championship group B match between Denmark and Finland at Parken stadium in Copenhagen, Denmark, Saturday, June 12, 2021. (Friedemann Vogel/Pool via AP)
Mattias Karen, The Associated Press
Published Thursday, June 17, 2021 5:53AM EDT
Last Updated Thursday, June 17, 2021 7:28AM EDT
COPENHAGEN (AP) - Christian Eriksen will be fitted with an implantable device to monitor his heart rhythm, the Danish soccer federation said Thursday.
The 29-year-old Eriksen is recovering in a Copenhagen hospital after suffering cardiac arrest during Denmark's game against Finland at the European Championship.
The Danish federation said doctors have determined that Eriksen needs to have an ICD - implantable cardioverter-defibrillator.
”This device is necessary after a cardiac attack due to rhythm disturbances,” the federation said in a statement. ”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 the following time.”
An ICD can function as a combination between a pacemaker and a defibrillator. It monitors a person's heartbeat and can send electrical pulses to restore a normal rhythm if necessary.
Netherlands defender Daley Blind still plays professionally with an ICD. He had one fitted after being diagnosed with an inflamed heart muscle in 2019.
Denmark played Belgium in its second Euro 2020 game on Thursday and lost 2-1. The game featured a minute's applause for Eriksen just after the clock hit 10 minutes in honor of his No. 10 national team shirt.
”Today, we will enter the pitch against Belgium with Christian in our hearts and thoughts,” Denmark captain Simon Kjaer said before the match in his first public statement since the incident. ”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. That is the greatest motivation for us all.”
Kjaer, who is close friends with Eriksen and his family, was one of the first players to come to the midfielder's aid after his collapse. He called it “a shock that will be part of me - part of all of us - forever.”
One of the doctors who helped treat Eriksen on the field told German media that the midfielder could speak and think clearly immediately after he was resuscitated with a defibrillator.
Jens Kleinefeld, who is a senior medical officer at UEFA, 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 speak to him directly,” Kleinefeld said in an interview with the Funke media group in Germany. “That was a very moving 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 replied: `Yes, I am with you again.”'
Kleinefeld said Eriksen also said: ”Damn it, I'm only 29 years old.”
”Then I knew the brain was not damaged and he was completely restored,” Kleinefeld said.
Kleinefeld said Eriksen could follow instructions to put his hands on his chest as they prepared to transport him to the hospital.
UEFA sent a video Thursday to the Danish federation featuring messages of support for Eriksen from the other 23 teams at the tournament, as well as the governing body's president, Aleksander Ceferin, and the referees.
”I'm so glad to see you better and in safe hands,” said France goalkeeper Hugo Lloris, who was teammates with Eriksen at Tottenham.
Ceferin said the incident ”made us all realize how fragile our lives are.”