Christian Eriksen’s road to recovery and football after cardiac arrest

Q&A: How Denmark midfielder has been able to rebuild and resume his career

Christian Eriksen is back in the Premier League seven months after suffering a cardiac arrest at Euro 2020. Here is a look at how the 29-year-old Denmark midfielder has been able to rebuild and resume his career at Brentford.

What happened in Copenhagen?

The former Tottenham midfielder collapsed during Denmark's opening Euro 2020 game against Finland in Copenhagen on June 12th, 2021.

Eriksen was quickly put on his side by teammate Simon Kjaer to ensure his airway was open. A defibrillator was produced quickly and together with heart massage Eriksen was revived on the pitch.

Eriksen was technically dead for a few minutes before he was carried to the ambulance and taken to hospital.

Speaking to Danish media earlier this month, Eriksen said: “I remember it all, except those minutes when I was in heaven.”

What has been done to protect his heart?

Four days after Eriksen collapsed it was announced that he would be fitted with an implantable cardioverter-defibrillator (ICD).

According to the British Heart Foundation an ICD, which is the size of a small match box, is placed under the skin, usually below the collar bone, to monitor a person’s heart rate.

Thin wires connect the ICD to the heart, allowing it to monitor the muscle’s rhythm and send electrical currents if it reaches a life-threatening speed of beats.

If this does not work, the ICD will deliver “shock therapy” to restore the heart back to a normal rhythm.

No Italian job, though?

Eriksen was an Inter Milan player at the time of his cardiac arrest, having moved to the San Siro from Tottenham in January 2020 for a fee in the region of £17million.

He helped Inter win last season’s Serie A title but would never play for the club again.

Serie A rules prevented Eriksen from playing with an ICD and a deal was struck for the Dane to leave the club.

Eriksen’s Inter contract was terminated by mutual consent on December 17th, 2021.

So why Brentford?

Eriksen maintained his fitness by training at Danish club Odense and Ajax, two of his former clubs, as thoughts turned to a full-time return.

Brentford makes sense given the strong Danish connection in west London.

Bees boss Thomas Frank worked with Eriksen while in charge of Denmark's Under-17s squad and there are several Danish players at Brentford, including Christian Norgaard and Mathias Jensen.

Eriksen also knows the Premier League and London well from his six-and-a-half year stay at Tottenham.

What next if Eriksen does well?

Eriksen’s Brentford contract runs until the end of the season and is a deal that suits both parties.

Brentford have had an encouraging start to life in the Premier League, and are currently eight points above the relegation zone.

The Bees hope Eriksen’s ability will help them avoid being sucked into any relegation battle.

For Eriksen, the challenge is to prove himself at the top again. If he can do that, expect plenty of interest from other Premier League clubs this summer.