In the Euro2020 game between Denmark and Finland on Saturday, June 12, 2021, Christian Eriksen suddenly collapsed when he was about to receive the ball from a throw in. No opposing player was challenging him at the time he went down, Seeing Christian Eriksen collapse was definitely frightening. For me and for many, it helped to put a lot of things in perspective.
First, when all is said and done, life is most important. How team mates and opponents aligned, hoping and praying for Christian to pull through was beautiful to see. Most of the fans stayed back at the stadium waiting for news about Christian’s condition and at some point both sets of fans were singing Christian’s name — the Finland fans chorused Christian and the Denmark fans replied Eriksen. It shows that when we are at our most vulnerable, a lot of the things that we hold dearly to and/or wished we had become insignificant; and in those vulnerable moments our humanity, empathy, kindness shows forth.
Secondly, I learned that who you have in your corner when you’re down and out is very important. Denmark’s team captain and Christian’s friend, Simon Kjaer, was one of the first at Christian’s side and took immediate action that is being said contributed to Christian’s survival. Simon immediately put Christian on his side which ensured that Christian didn’t swallow his tongue which would have been disastrous. It has also been reported that Simon did some CPR on Christian before the medics arrived on the scene. Credit must also be given to other sets of players who immediately signalled for the medics and also to the match referee who stopped the match immediately and allowed the medics to rush into the field to attend to Christian.
All that was happening to Christian was on live TV. Simon Kjaer again had the presence of mind and calmness to coordinate his teammates to form a wall around Christian while medics attended to him. Also, when Sabrina Kvist Jensen, Christian’s partner was brought to the field, Simon was among the first to reach her to console her alongside Kasper Schmeichel. Reading and watching some of these things, I wondered “Who will be your Simon Kjaer when you’re down and out and to whom will you be a Simon Kjaer?”
Thankfully, Christian was resuscitated and further tests will be carried out to identify the root cause of his cardiac arrest. And as the headline of Ekstrabladet, a Danish newspaper, said “Denmark lost, but life won.” Get well soon Christian Eriksen!