Medics Who Saved Christian Eriksen's Life in June to Receive UEFA President's Award

Timothy Rapp@@TRappaRTFeatured Columnist IVAugust 24, 2021

COMO, ITALY - AUGUST 04: Christian Eriksen of FC Internazionale visits Appiano Gentile to meet teammates and staff at Appiano Gentile on August 04, 2021 in Como, Italy. (Photo by Mattia Ozbot - Inter/Inter via Getty Images)
Mattia Ozbot - Inter/Inter via Getty Images

The medical staff who saved Christian Eriksen's life after the Danish midfielder collapsed at the Euro 2020 tournament in June are being honored with the UEFA President's Award, the governing body announced Tuesday.

"This year, the President's Award transcends football," UEFA president Aleksander Ceferin said in a statement. "It serves as an important and eternal reminder of just how precious life is and puts everything in our lives into the clearest perspective."

The honorees include the Parken Stadium medical team—Mogens Kreutzfeldt (chief medical officer), Frederik Flensted (stadium medical manager), Anders Boesen (pitchside emergency doctor), Peder Ersgaard (paramedic)—and UEFA's venue medical officers, Jens Kleinefeld and Valentin Velikov.

Alongside the on-site medical staff, Denmark's team doctor Morten Boesen, physio Morten Skjoldagerand and team captain Simon Kjaer will also be honored. 

"You did a fantastic job and saved my life," Eriksen said in a message to the medical staff. "Also a big thanks to my friend and captain Simon and my teammates in the Danish team for your support, both on 12 June and afterwards."

Eriksen, 29, collapsed on the pitch during Denmark's Euros-opening 1-0 loss to Finland in June after suffering cardiac arrest. He was given life-saving treatment on the field—Kjaer performed CPR and a defibrillator was used—before he was taken to a local hospital. Eriksen later underwent surgery to insert an implantable cardioverter-defibrillator (ICD), a device designed to prevent cardiac arrest and regulate heart rhythm.

"He was gone, and we did cardiac resuscitation. It was a cardiac arrest," team doctor Morten Boesen told reporters in June. "How close were we [to losing Eriksen]? I don't know. We got him back after one defibrillator, so that's quite fast. I'm not a cardiologist, so the details I will leave to the experts at the hospital."

That game was temporarily halted in the 43rd minute before being resumed later that day, with players agreeing to continue. Denmark manager Kasper Hjulmand thought UEFA put the players in a tough spot by asking them to consider resuming the game that same day, however.

"I know it's very difficult," he told reporters at the time. "But looking back it was the wrong thing to make the decision between the two scenarios to the players in this case. Players were in a shock condition. Players who didn't really know yet if they had lost their best friend. And they have to decide between these two things. And I have a sense that we shouldn't have played."

As for Eriksen's future in football, he is currently unable to play for Serie A's Inter because of regulations in Italy that won't allow him to participate while he has an ICD.