Danish soccer star Christian Eriksen will have a device implanted to monitor his heart rhythm, team officials announced Thursday — hours ahead of a moving in-game tribute for the recovering midfielder.
Eriksen, 29, who suffered cardiac arrest in Denmark’s Euro 2020 opener against Finland on Saturday, needs to be fitted with an implantable cardioverter defibrillator — a battery-powered device that sends an electric shock if an abnormal heart rate is detected, the national team’s physician said in a statement.
“After Christian has been through different heart examinations it has been decided that he should have an ICD (heart starter),” doctor Morten Boesen said. “This device is necessary after a cardiac attack due to rhythm disturbances.”
Eriksen, who was resuscitated with a defibrillator after getting CPR from Boesen on the pitch, has “accepted the solution,” according to the statement.
“The plan has moreover been confirmed by specialists nationally and internationally who all recommend the same treatment,” Boesen continued. “We encourage everybody to give Christian and his family pace and privacy the following time.”
ICDs can prevent sudden deaths in people with ventricular tachycardia – or a fast, abnormal heart rate, according to the American Heart Association.
“Newer-generation ICDs may have a dual function which includes the ability to serve as a pacemaker,” according to the group’s website. “The pacemaker feature would stimulate the heart to beat if the heart rate is detected to be too slow.”
Thin wires connect the implanted device to a patient’s heart and an electric shock is delivered if an abnormal heart rhythm is detected. A battery-powered pulse generator roughly the size of a pocket watch is typically implanted just below the collarbone, according to AHA’s website.
Those living with ICDs can “most likely” resume a “near normal lifestyle,” according to the AHA.
Reuters reported that Eriksen may potentially return with the ICD — as a defender for Netherlands, Daley Blind, still plays professionally for Ajax after being fitted for the device following his diagnosis of an inflamed heart muscle in 2019.
But Eriksen, who plays for Inter Milan, will need special permission to return to the team since Italian FA rules bar players from competing with internal defibrillators, according to ESPN.
Eriksen received a moving tribute as Denmark took on Belgium Thursday in Copenhagen, where he’s recovering at a hospital just several hundred yards away, ESPN reported.
The ball was booted out of play at the 10-minute mark in a nod to Eriksen’s national team number as Denmark and Belgium led fans in the stirring tribute.
“All of Denmark is with you, Christian,” one massive sign read.
Belgium went on to win Thursday’s match 2-1, clinching a spot in the Round of 16.