Danish footballer Christian Eriksen suffered a cardiac arrest during Denmark’s Euro 2020 fixture with Finland match on Saturday, confirmed Denmark’s team doctor.
Eriksen, 29, collapsed to the turf in the first half of the Group B fixture and was quickly attended by medics who sprinted to his aid.
Danish footballer Christian Eriksen has spent his third night in hospital having tests, following a cardiac arrest. But the doctors are still not clear that why he stopped suddenly and is looking for the cause which is now a priority.
Prof Sanjay Sharma, cardiologist and chairman of the Football Association’s expert cardiac committee, told the BBC recently that, “It was a 29-year-old fighting for his life,”. “We now need to try to find out what actually happened.”
According to the British Heart Foundation, one of the most common causes of a cardiac arrest is a life-threatening abnormal heart rhythm and the other causes include cardiomyopathy that is a disease of the heart muscle which affects its size, shape or thickness, this can be inherited and acute myocarditis, or inflammation of the heart muscle.
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Christian Eriksen posts a positive update on his health ❤️
“Big thanks for your sweet and amazing greetings and messages from all around the world.
“It means a lot to me and my family.”
📸 Instagram: chriseriksen8 pic.twitter.com/AaQSoh6IfU
— Goal (@goal) June 15, 2021
Footballer heart risk ‘underestimated’
Prof Sharma said to BBC that, Mr Eriksen’s complex scans of heart will now be being carried out to detect very subtle scars or abnormalities that is something which regular screening of league footballers’ hearts may not have picked up. In the UK these tests are mandatory that is happening every two years from the age 16 to 25.
Through this, they look for anything suspicious in the way the heart functions and its structure but despite the best efforts of doctors, these tests are done but these are not a 100% guarantee that underlying heart problems will be found.
These conditions don’t always show up in adolescence or in 16 to 25-year-olds,” Prof Sharma says.
“They may not start to show until their mid-20s or 30s.”
However, sometimes abnormalities only occur when footballers are mid-match, or they could be linked to another recent illness that may have stressed the heart. Some of the problems if identified can be fixed or treated but others remain irreversible or incurable.
How does cardiac arrest take place?
When the heart suddenly stops pumping blood around the body starving the brain of oxygen and leading someone to fall unconscious and stop breathing, a cardiac arrest occurs.
Cardiac arrest is different from a heart attack, which takes place when the blood supply to the heart muscle is cut off and often occurs because of a clot in one of the coronary arteries.
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Mr. Eriksen is not the only footballer to have suffered a cardiac arrest. In 2012, another footballer, Fabrice Muamba, collapsed on the pitch and his heart stopped for 78 minutes. Marc-Vivien Foe died while playing for Cameroon aged 28, and former England defender Ugo Ehiogu, who was a Spurs coach, died in 2017, aged 44.
“Extreme exercise puts athletes at increased risk because they stress their hearts harder – and that’s more likely to trigger an issue,” says Dr Zafar Iqbal, head of sports medicine at Crystal Palace Football Club.
“But these are very rare incidents,” he adds.
Cardiac arrests can happen to anyone at any time – not just fit footballers.