Christian Eriksen, the Danish soccer player who collapsed on the field during a game at the European Championship, will have a defibrillator implanted to help prevent future heart episodes, Denmark’s team doctor said Thursday.
The device, an implantable cardioverter-defibrillator, or I.C.D., will be placed under Eriksen’s skin and monitor his heart rhythm. A combination pacemaker and defibrillator, the device tracks a person’s heartbeat and can send electrical pulses to restore a normal rhythm as needed.
“After Christian has been through different heart examinations, it has been decided that he should have an ICD (heart starter),” the doctor, Morten Boesen, said in a statement released by Denmark’s soccer federation. “This device is necessary after a cardiac attack due to rhythmic disturbances.”
“Christian has accepted the solution,” it added.
The doctor did not address the issue of Eriksen’s possible return to the sport.
Another player taking part in the Euros, Daley Blind of the Netherlands, had a similar device implanted in 2019 after two in-game collapses, although it was not known how directly comparably his condition is to Eriksen’s. Blind and Eriksen are friends and former teammates at the Dutch powerhouse Ajax Amsterdam.
Eriksen, 29, collapsed on the field late in the first half of a game against Finland at Euro 2020 on Saturday, and then received lifesaving treatment, including CPR, as his teammates and fans at the game in Copenhagen — and a global television audience — looked on in shock. After a delay, the game was restarted, a decision that has been heavily criticized in Denmark, including by the team’s current and former players and its head coach. Finland went on to win, 1-0.
Eriksen released a message and photograph from the hospital on Tuesday thanking fans for their good wishes, saying “I’m fine, under the circumstances.”
Manager Kasper Hjulmand of Denmark said he expected that Eriksen would watch the game from the hospital. After the loss to Finland, the game is critical for Denmark’s hopes of advancing at the tournament.
Belgian players have said they plan to kick the ball out of bounds in the 10th minute of the game as a tribute to Eriksen, who wears No. 10 when playing for Denmark. Several Belgian players, including striker Romelu Lukaku, have played alongside Eriksen for European club teams.
Simon Kjaer, the Denmark captain, was among the first to reach Eriksen when he collapsed on Saturday, and he appeared near tears as he warmed up for the restart 90 minutes later. Kjaer was substituted in the second half of the match, but was returned to the starting lineup that will face Belgium on Thursday.
On Thursday, he released a statement to fans in which he said the team would “enter the pitch against Belgium with Christian in our hearts and thoughts.”
“It gives us peace in our minds, which allows us to focus on the game of football,” he said of knowing Eriksen’s condition had stabilized. “We will play for Christian, and as always for all of Denmark. That is the greatest motivation for all of us.”