- BBC News World
As a Danish newspaper headlined: “Denmark lost. But he won his life.”
At the end of an emotional night in Copenhagen, there was relief to learn that the Danish midfielder Christian Eriksen was conscious and stable in a hospital.
The 29-year-old collapsed in the campor shortly before the end of the first half in the match between Denmark and Finland of the Eurocup This saturday.
There was also relief that those around him they will act quickly that could well have saved his life the Inter Milan footballer.
Players, doctors and assistants played an important role in helping Eriksen.
The first to help
Eriksen’s collapse came shortly before the first half break, as the player walked to the wing to take a serve at Copenhagen’s Parken Stadium.
It was a very shocking moment for all who witnessed it, including the audience in the stands and on the television broadcast.
The captain of Denmark, Simon kjaer, was one of the first players to run to see what happened. He performed a maneuver to clear Eriksen’s airway.
The seriousness of the incident was evident and players from both teams clamored for medical personnel to rush to the scene to help them.
When he was cared for, Eriksen’s teammates formed a protective ring around him, offering some privacy from the 15,200 fans who attended the stadium and the millions who watched it on television.
Many of the players, most looking away, They were crying. Some it seemed they were praying also.
Henry Winter, the football editor in chief of The Times, told the BBC: “If you know the Danish team, these are not just teammates.”
“They are friends and were with Christian Eriksen in his time of need. With that courage of the men involved, they comforted Christian’s partner, who was distraught on the court. We usually praise the players and put them on a pedestal, but they are humans like the rest of us. “
Finally, the player was transported on a stretcher to the hospital.
After word arrived that Eriksen was conscious, the game was restarted by agreement of both teams. Finland won it 1-0.
Doctors to the rescue
Sports cardiologist Sanjay Sharma, chairman of the English Football Association’s expert consensus panel in cardiology, told the BBC that “What saved his life was very urgent and fast medical attention.”
Denmark’s national team doctor Martin Boesen spoke at a post-match press conference and explained how the events unfolded.
“It was clear that he was unconscious,” he said.
“When I saw him, he was on his side, he was breathing, I could feel the pulse. But suddenly that changed and we started giving him CPR“, he recounted.
“Help came from the medical team very quickly and the rest of the staff with their help, and we did what we had to do and we managed to get Christian back. He spoke to me before they took him to the hospital.”
Fabrice Muamba, a footballer who suffered cardiac arrest during an English Premier League match in 2012, was able to recover from the episode but never played again.
In an interview with the BBC, he said: “It was scary, but the credit goes to the medical staff. They have done an incredible job with Christian. I liked how his teammates came together to protect him. (…) I hope things turn out well for him. I hope he gets over it. “
Back to the field by Eriksen
Danish players had two options: finish the game that night or at noon the next day.
After hearing that Eriksen was fine, they decided to finish it that night.
The game restarted nearly two hours after the Dane crashed. The last five minutes of the first half were played before a five-minute break and then the second half.
Denmark coach Kasper Hjulmand said: “The players couldn’t imagine not being able to sleep tonight and having to go on a bus tomorrow and play again. It was easier to get out and finish at once.”
“It has been a rough night. We have all received the reminder of what is the most important thing in life: having valuable relationships, the people we are close to, our families and friends. “
He added that he couldn’t be more proud of “these people who take such good care of each other” and how they talked to each other to decide they wouldn’t play until they knew Eriksen was conscious and stable.
“Honestly, there are players who were out on the field and they were already completely exhausted. Emotionally exhausted,” he said.
“Some of them couldn’t play, some were ready. We just tried to do our best, but you can’t play a football game at this level. It’s not normal to play a game like that when one of your friends is suffering with a problem. I can’t imagine playing a game like that. We are going to offer therapy sessions and there are people who will help us. “
There was also a key role in the events by the English referee Anthony Taylor.
He stopped play almost immediately and motioned for the medics to keep running.
He then led the players through the tunnel when it became apparent that the game would be suspended for some time.
Most of the attendees, both from Denmark and Finland and neutral, stayed in their seats waiting for news, even when it seemed unlikely that the game would continue.
In a moment, Finns chanted “Christian” and Danes responded with “Eriksen”.
Everyone gave the players a standing ovation when they returned to the court to restart the game.
Former soccer player Pat Nevin recounted on BBC radio: “They seemed to just want to hear something new. When the latest update was released, there were tears of joy and relief.”
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Eddie is an Australian news reporter with over 9 years in the industry and has published on Forbes and tech crunch.