Image courtesy of CNN
By Noelia Veras
Danish soccer player Christian Eriksen collapsed on the field during his team’s opening Euro 2020 match against Finland on Sunday, June 13. Eriksen collapsed at the 42 minute mark, but is currently in stable condition, according to CNN.
Eriksen is a 29-year-old midfielder who currently plays for Inter Milan’s club soccer team and Denmark’s national soccer team.
The match was temporarily paused after Eriksen was removed from the field, but resumed an hour and 45 minutes later, with Finland winning 1-0. Eriksen encouraged his team to keep playing when he woke up and even stated that he felt well enough to play.
“He would like for us to play on,” Kasper Hjulmand, coach of the Danish soccer team, said in a report by Reuters. “He said he feels like he could go out and play again. Christian feels best when he’s got a football close to his feet.”
According to Hjulmand, Eriksen was even lightheaded during their interaction, noting that he might even feel better than his worried coach.
“I think you are feeling worse than I am. I feel as if I’m about to go training now, boys,” said Hjulmand quoting Eriksen.
Seconds before collapsing it was clear that Eriksen was having a hard time walking. 16,000 people watched in the audience as Eriksen collapsed– a fairly large crowd considering the precautions set in place for COVID-19– and his teammates circled around him before he was carried off in a stretcher.
According to a statement at a press conference made by Morten Boesen, Denmark’s team doctor, Eriksen suffered cardiac arrest and was clinically dead at one point.
“Well, what should I say? He was gone. And we did cardiac resuscitation and it was cardiac arrest. How close were we? I don’t know,” Boesen said. “We got him back after one ‘de-fib,’ so that is quite fast. The details…I am not a cardiologist, so the details about what happened and further I will leave to the experts.”
The cause of the collapse remains unknown according to Boesen, but Eriksen was examined at the hospital multiple times.
“The exams that have been done so far look fine,” Boesen said. “We don’t have an explanation to why it happened.”
People are criticizing the the Union of European Football Associations (UEFA) for resuming the game so quickly. According to another report from Reuters, with Eriksen collapsing just before halftime, receiving CPR on the spot, and being taken to a hospital soon after, UEFA only offered the players the choice of either resuming the game on Saturday night, or beginning again on Sunday at 12:00 p.m. local time. Former Danish internationals Peter Schmeichel and Michael Laudrup are two notable figures that are criticising UEFA over its handling of the collapse.
“It’s a ridiculous decision by UEFA, they should have tried to work out a different scenario and shown a little bit of compassion, and they didn’t,” Schmeichel told the BBC. “Something terrible like that happens and UEFA gives the players an option to go out and play the game or come back at 12:00 on Sunday. What kind of option is that?”
Eriksen remained in stable condition in a Copenhagen hospital the following day according to Deadline.”We would like to thank everyone for the heartfelt greetings to Christian Eriksen from fans, players, the Royal Families from both Denmark and England, international associations, clubs, etc.,” the Danish Football Association said in a statement.