Eriksen may never play football again, warns cardiologist
Denmark and Inter Milan midfielder, Christian Eriksen, may have to retire earlier than expected after a near-death experience left him needing emergency cardiopulmonary resuscitation on Saturday during the EURO 2020 match against Finland.
Eriksen collapsed untouched four minutes before the end of the first half at the Parken Stadium after suffering a cardiac arrest and according to the national team doctor, the former Tottenham star was gone before he was luckily revived.
Although the 29-year-old is stable and receiving treatment at a hospital, a sports cardiologist at London's St George's University – Professor Sanjay Sharma, said he may never be allowed to play again.
She said that football bodies and medical practitioners were likely to be "very strict" about allowing Eriksen to play again.
Sharma, who worked with Eriksen at Tottenham Spurs, said: "Clearly something went terribly wrong. But they managed to get him back. The question is what happened? And why did it happen?"
"This guy had normal tests all the way up to 2019. So, how do you explain this cardiac arrest?" asked Sharma.
Sharma, who chairs the FA's expert cardiac consensus group, said there were multiple reasons a cardiac arrest could have happened, such as high temperatures or an unidentified condition.
But he said reports after the match that Eriksen who is now with Italian side Inter Milan was awake in hospital were "a very good sign."
"I'm very pleased. The fact he's stable and awake, his outlook is going to be very good.
"I don't know whether he'll ever play football again. Without putting it too bluntly, he died today, albeit for a few minutes, but he did die. And would the medical professional allow him to die again? The answer is no."
He added: "The good news is he will live, the bad news is he was coming to the end of his career. So, would he play another professional football game? That I can't say. In the UK, he wouldn't play. We'd be very strict about it."
Recall that Denmark coach, Kasper Hjulmand, struggled to hold back the tears during his post-match press conference.
He revealed his side had the choice of finishing the Group B opener on the night or returning on Sunday.
"It was more unmanageable to have to restart tomorrow (Sunday). It was more unmanageable than going back out now and getting it all put behind us," he said.
"I could not be more proud of this team, who take good care of each other.
"There are players in there who are completely finished emotionally. Players who on another day could not play this match. They are supporting each other. It was a traumatic experience."
After Eriksen collapsed, his team-mates formed a shield around the 29-year-old while he received treatment and fans from both sets of countries chanted the name of the midfielder.
The football world has united to send messages of support to Eriksen and his family.
Sabrina Kvist Jensen, with whom Eriksen has two children, was consoled on the sideline by other Denmark players and team officials while the midfielder received treatment.
Meanwhile England, who got their Euro 2020 campaign under way Sunday against Croatia, are due to hold a press conference on Saturday evening with captain Harry Kane alongside manager Gareth Southgate.
But the Football Association confirmed the media briefing had been cancelled.
Kane, who spent eight seasons with Eriksen at Tottenham, writing on Twitter: "Chris. I'm sending all my love to you and your family. Stay strong, mate."
The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge tweeted: "Encouraging news about Christian Eriksen, we are all thinking about him and his family.
"Well done to the medical team and (English referee) Anthony Taylor for their calm and swift action. W."
Later in the evening, the Dane's Inter Milan team-mate, Romelu Lukaku, dedicated his first goal in Belgium's 3-0 win over Russia to Eriksen by saying into the pitchside cameras: "Chris, I love you."
He later told beIN SPORTS: "It was difficult to play because my mind was with my team-mate. I hope he is healthy and I dedicate this performance to him. I cried a lot because I was scared, obviously."
In a related event, the BBC has apologised following complaints that it continued to broadcast while Eriksen received emergency treatment.
"We apologise to anyone who was upset by the images broadcast," the broadcaster said in a statement.
"In-stadium coverage is controlled by UEFA as the host broadcaster, and as soon as the match was suspended, we took our coverage off air as quickly as possible."
Former Tottenham striker Gary Lineker, who anchored the BBC's studio coverage of the match, said: "In 25 years of doing this job, that was the most difficult, distressing and emotional broadcast I've ever been involved with."
Lineker thanked his colleagues Alex Scott, Cesc Fabregas and Micah Richards, who were with him for their "professionalism, warmth and empathy."
Of the host broadcaster's coverage, Lineker said: "They should have stayed on a wide of the stadium. Apologies."
Former Tottenham player and manager Glenn Hoddle, who suffered a cardiac arrest while working at the BT Sport studios in 2018, tweeted: "Thank God Christian is ok. And to those who did the CPR, it's simple, you saved his life as I know so well."
Fabrice Muamba, the former Bolton midfielder who collapsed after suffering a cardiac arrest during a televised FA Cup game in 2012, tweeted "Please God" following the incident.