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Christian Eriksen: 5 things that need to happen following Eriksen's cardiac arrest

Christian Eriksen, Denmark, Euro 2020
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Thankfully, Christian Eriksen is recovering after a cardiac arrest on the pitch during Denmark's opening Euro 2020 game against Finland – and he has now been discharged from hospital. But the aftermath and consequences of such a traumatic incident are still rippling through football. 

The near-fatal collapse has prompted a global discussion in the sport. Not only have the events drawn a bigger focus to the possibility of something like this happening to younger people, there are debates about how we can prevent this again, as a sport. There are conversations about how Eriksen's cardiac arrest was handled by everyone - positively and negatively - ranging from the on-field officials and his teammates, to UEFA themselves. 

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Football can, and should, make moves to improve the game, should something like this ever happen again. We can learn from what happened to Eriksen.

1. Change the rules around postponing games

What followed the postponement of the Denmark vs Finland game was confusing and quite unsettling, for many. The news came in about the match restarting later on that evening - and apparently, it was the players who wanted to finish. 

Afterwards, however, there was talk of how UEFA had offered the teams two timeslots for the match and that if Denmark didn't choose one, they'd forfeit the game 3-0. With an uncharacteristic mistake from Kasper Schmeichel for Finland's goal, a missed penalty and an erratic performance from a team who were on top up until the incident, it looked like Danish heads were elsewhere that evening. It's completely understandable, too.

UEFA may have just been following protocol - but that protocol is coming under scrutiny now. COVID-19 protocols are far more lenient towards teams, after all. 

Would it have been that unreasonable for both teams to receive a point, especially given that the match was abandoned with the score at 0-0? UEFA need to take a closer look at what happens should such a traumatic incident force the abandonment of a match. As it is right now, it's not fitting. 

2. Fund a study into whether players are playing too much

Christian Eriksen

(Image credit: PA)

Naturally, the subject of game time reared its head on social media following the incident - especially after such a condensed domestic season. Eriksen has been involved in a title win for Inter Milan and a European campaign. Has he had too much football?

That should be for the experts to decide - and UEFA owes it to the players and fans to tell us. 

There are more competitions than ever and more football being played than perhaps the human body can take. UEFA has a responsibility to its players not to endanger their lives. The least they can do is provide better answers: in a post-Super League world, building a level of trust with the players who compete in your competitions is a no-brainer, too.

3. Introduce a plan for broadcasters in future for similar incidents

The broadcasters came under fire, too, after the incident. Why was the camera focusing on the player himself? Why did the coverage zoom in on his partner, who was clearly distressed? Why did the Danish players have to form this circle around their team-mate to protect his privacy?

The BBC weren't at fault, per se, given that UEFA handles the master broadcast, which is then sent worldwide. But still, given how quick broadcasters are to cut away from streakers and pitch invaders - and given the number of high-profile injuries which don't receive replays in the Premier League - the mistakes that were made during this game were avoidable.

A wider shot of the stadium should have been shown by the pool broadcaster. The BBC coverage should have cut back to the studio sooner if it was likely to be distressing for viewers. If the presenters and pundits don't know how to deal with such a crisis – and for what it's worth, the studio team did well – they should receive training on how to deal with a traumatic incident such as that. 

Hopefully, the broadcasters won't have another incident like this to redeem themselves. But there has to be a better contingency plan for something like this. 

4. Ensure that clubs across the UK have defibrillators

Clive Tyldesley

(Image credit: PA)

Clive Tyldesley spoke about his friend Glenn Hoddle - who had a heart attack three years ago - as the second half of Denmark's game against Belgium kicked off. He said that he and his wife went on a course to learn CPR and how valuable it can be to save someone's life. Having shared a gantry with Hoddle, Tyldesley has prepared for a worst-case scenario.

CPR is a skill that everyone should learn, of course. There's also the question of how many football clubs have defibrillators across the country. While bigger clubs have them, smaller ones have to fork out around £800 for them.

This should be covered by a grant or even an interest-free loan from the FA, surely. If it can save just one life, it's priceless. What's stopping them?

It was a stroke of luck that Christian Eriksen survived last weekend: but it shouldn't have to be for any victim of cardiac arrest on a football pitch, or even in the stands, anywhere in the country. Football has the power and the financial might to save lives.

5. Pay tribute to those who saved Eriksen's life at the final

In the midst of the horror and the trauma, the events of Christian Eriksen's collapse also showcased the very best of humanity. 

The Danish medical team saved one of their players' lives with the speed in which they reacted. Danish captain Simon Kjaer helped clear his teammate's airway and the side as a whole protected Eriksen's dignity by forming a circle around him. The leaders and lifesavers in this event did something far more important than any player will at Euro 2020. 

Since the final is set to be held at a stadium in which Eriksen played club football, it would make it even more appropriate for those who saved his life to be honoured in some way - maybe guests of honour for the match. It would be a fitting tribute to their actions of that day. 

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