For a few minutes on Saturday, fans in Copenhagen and worldwide wondered if we had just watched Christian Eriksen die.
We did. For a moment, we witnessed someone passing away.
Danish Midfielder Christian Eriksen suffered a cardiac arrest during Denmark’s Euro 2020 opener against Finland.
As the medics attempted to resuscitate him, the gravity of the situation became clear. After a minute, we knew something serious was happening. After two, we realised that this football match was not going to continue.
In one of the most powerful images in recent times, the Denmark players formed a protective wall around Christian Eriksen.
The sight of them, tears in their eyes, helping to preserve the dignity of their teammate as the doctors brought him back to life will live long in the memory. The Denmark and Finland teams made their way to the dressing room as the game was called off. Eriksen was taken to the hospital.
Shortly afterwards, images of Eriksen being taken off on a stretcher appeared to show he was conscious. We knew he would live, at least.
Once it was confirmed that Eriksen would recover, the decision was made to play the rest of the game.
It has been confirmed Eriksen did not contract Covid-19. However, the cause of his cardiac arrest is still unknown. Was it the cause of stress, or did he have an underlying condition?
Either way, it is doubtful the 29 year old will play football again. Fabrice Muamba suffered a cardiac arrest on the pitch while playing for Bolton in 2012. Muamba intended to resume playing football, but it wasn’t possible.
Sanjay Sharma, professor of sports cardiology at St George’s University in London, who worked with Eriksen at Tottenham during his time in north London, said: “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.”