It’s been over 18 months since Christian Eriksen collapsed on the pitch at Euro 2020 after suffering cardiac arrest.
The Danish midfielder received life-saving treatment during his country’s game against Finland in June 2021, before eventually being resuscitated and taken to hospital.
Players on the pitch, those inside the stadium and fans around the world held their breath as Eriksen’s teammates linked their arms to hide his fight for survival.
These are scenes that bore similarities to Monday night when Buffalo Bills player Damar Hamlin collapsed on the field.
Like Eriksen, Hamlin also suffered cardiac arrest. According to the Bills, his heartbeat was restored on the field and the 24-year-old remains in “critical condition” in a Cincinnati hospital.
Buffalo Bills team coaches arrived at Hamlin within 10 seconds of his collapse, like the team doctors who had saved Eriksen’s life.
“Well, what should I say? He was gone,” Danish team doctor Morten Boesen said at the time.
“And we did CPR and it was cardiac arrest. How close were we? I don’t know.”
Eriksen was then fitted with an implantable cardiac defibrillator (ICD), a type of pacemaker intended to prevent fatal cardiac arrest by discharging a jolt to restore a regular heart rhythm, and made an incredible return to the sport he loved. .
Denmark’s Euro 2020 game against Finland resumed later that evening after a request was made by players from both teams to end the game.
Eriksen was conscious when he left the pitch, even waving at supporters as he was carried away on a stretcher, and a statement from the Danish Football Federation shortly afterwards confirmed he was awake in hospital and that he awaited further examination.
It was unlike Hamlin. A representative for Hamlin’s family said the NFL player had only been resuscitated once after he collapsed on the football field Monday night, friend and marketing representative Jordon Rooney told CNN on Wednesday.
On Tuesday, Hamlin’s uncle told CNN and ESPN that Buffalo Bills safety was resuscitated twice — once on the field and another in the hospital — but Rooney said the uncle got hurt. Express.
“His uncle is incredibly supportive of his nephew… I think, you know, he just wanted to do his part to share good news and I think he misspoke,” Rooney said.
Despite the players’ decision to resume the match, Denmark head coach Kasper Hjulmand admitted the following day that he thought it was the “wrong decision”.
“It was very hard for the players,” he told reporters. “They didn’t even know if they could possibly lose their best friend.
“I have the feeling that we should not have played and badly that the players had to decide. I’m really proud of how the world reacted to this incident.
“It’s often a question of money, but yesterday we saw what football is: compassion and love.”
Just 259 days after his collapse, Eriksen made his competitive return to the English Premier League after signing for Brentford.
Serie A side Inter Milan – who Eriksen had been contracted to at the time of the incident – let the midfielder go abroad as he couldn’t play in Italy unless the ICD device not be removed.
Eriksen came on as a 52nd-minute substitute in Brentford’s 2-0 loss to Newcastle United in February 2022 and was greeted as a hero.
“If you take away the result, I’m a happy man. Going through what I’ve been through, being back is a wonderful feeling,” Eriksen said afterwards.
After a brief but successful stint at Brentford, Eriksen moved to Manchester United in July 2022 where he continues to be a central part of the team.
He has made 15 league appearances so far this season, scoring once.
Then, in November 2022, Eriksen fulfilled his dream of playing for Denmark in a third World Cup.
The 30-year-old played every minute of Denmark’s three games at Qatar 2022, before his country left in the group stage.
Speaking ahead of the tournament, Eriksen said the Euro 2020 incident changed his outlook on football and life.
“I think it gave me…let’s say appreciation for being alive and being with my family. And I think everything else is just pushed aside,” he told reporters.
“Having the ability to go back and be who I was before was really the point. My first goal was always to be a boyfriend and a dad.
“It’s still very special to be at the World Cup. The national team is something I’m just very happy to be part of again.