Denmark's Christian Eriksen to have heart-starter device implanted after on-pitch collapse

Denmark midfielder Christian Eriksen will get a heart-starter device implanted after his collapse during his team's Euro 2020 opener against Finland on Saturday, the national team doctor said in a statement on Thursday.

Eriksen's life was saved when CPR was administered on the pitch and his heart was restarted with a defibrillator before he was taken to hospital, where he is recovering.

He will receive an implantable cardioverter defibrillator (ICD), a small electronic device that is a type of pacemaker and can prevent fatal cardiac arrests by discharging a jolt to restore a regular heart rhythm.

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"After Christian has been through different heart examinations, it has been decided that he should have an ICD," doctor Morten Boesen said in a statement. "This device is necessary after a cardiac attack due to rhythm disturbances.

"Christian has accepted the solution and the plan has moreover been confirmed by specialists nationally and internationally who all recommend the same treatment."

Netherlands defender Daley Blind still plays professionally, for Ajax, with an ICD. He had one fitted after being diagnosed with an inflamed heart muscle in 2019.

Italian FA rules bar players from playing with internal defibrillators, so Eriksen would need special dispensation to return to Inter.

Meanwhile, Denmark captain Simon Kjaer, who received widespread praise for his role in helping Eriksen so quickly after his collapse, said in a statement on Twitter: "It has been some very special days, where football has not been the most important thing.

"A shock, that will be part of me -- part of all of us -- forever! The only thing that is important and really matters, is that Christian is OK!!

"I am proud of how we acted as a team and how we stood together in these difficult times. I am touched and very grateful for all the support.

"Today, we will 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.

"We will play for Christian, and as always for all of Denmark. That is the greatest motivation for all of us. As always: we will do our best!"

Denmark face Belgium in Copenhagen at noon ET in a game which Eriksen will watch from his hospital bed, manager Kasper Hjulmand said.

Belgium forward Romelu Lukaku, a teammate of Eriksen's at club level with Inter Milan, said his side will put the ball out of play on 10 minutes to allow for a tribute to the Danish midfielder.

One of the doctors who helped treat Eriksen on the field told German media that the midfielder could speak and think clearly immediately after he was resuscitated with a defibrillator.

Jens Kleinefeld, who is a senior medical officer at UEFA, said the defibrillator was used after a few minutes of cardiac massage.

"About 30 seconds later the player opened his eyes and I was able to speak to him directly,'' Kleinefeld said in an interview with the Funke media group in Germany. "That was a very moving moment, because with such medical emergencies in everyday life the chances of success are much lower.

"Eriksen looked at me and I asked him: 'Well, are you back with us?' And he replied: 'Yes, I am with you again.'''

Kleinefeld said Eriksen also said: ''Damn it, I'm only 29 years old.''

''Then I knew the brain was not damaged and he was completely restored,'' Kleinefeld said.

Kleinefeld said Eriksen could follow instructions to put his hands on his chest as they prepared to transport him to the hospital.

UEFA sent a video Thursday to the Danish federation featuring messages of support for Eriksen from the other 23 teams at the tournament, as well as the governing body's president, Aleksander Ceferin, and the referees. ''I'm so glad to see you better and in safe hands,'' saidFrance goalkeeper Hugo Lloris, who was teammates with Eriksen at Tottenham.

Ceferin said the incident ''made us all realize how fragile our lives are.''

Information from Gab Marcotti was used in this report.