It was a scary moment for soccer fans around the world when Denmark midfielder Christian Eriksen suffered a cardiac arrest during Denmark’s Euro 2020 opener against Finland on Saturday.
According to ESPN, the 29-year-old soccer player is reportedly in stable condition at a hospital in Copenhagen, though team doctor Morten Boesen said in a press conference Sunday that Eriksen was “gone” before he was resuscitated on the pitch.
But what exactly does this all mean? For that, Dr. Brian Sutterer, MD took to YouTube to break down Eriksen’s scary medical moment — and the best way for fans to react to the news.
In his video, Dr. Sutterer calls Eriksen’s collapse on the pitch “one of the most concerning and scary scenes that we’ve seen in recent sports history from a medical standpoint.” According to the doc, cardiac arrest is of “biggest concern when evaluating a downed athlete,” as it can be fatal.
“With cardiac arrest, the heart is not beating. So, most importantly, you aren’t getting oxygenated blood that flows to the brain,” Dr. Sutterer says. “What that results in is you start to get lightheaded, you get dizzy and you lose your awareness or your consciousness. So when we see Eriksen stumble, likely that’s because he was losing that alertness.”
In Eriksen’s case, CPR and a defibrillator helped stabilize him on the pitch before he was transferred to a hospital. Dr. Sutterer says it’s a good sign Eriksen was conscious while being carried by stretcher off the pitch. But he cautions about drawing too many conclusions about Eriksen’s health — or future in the sport — based on the very little information known.
According to the doc, Eriksen will next have to be evaluated to see what exactly caused his cardiac arrest. With this in mind, Dr. Sutterer adds that any speculation about his condition is likely inaccurate — or unhelpful, at best.
“Someone can go into cardiac arrest as a result of many different organ systems or injuries that don’t necessarily stem exactly from the heart itself,” Dr. Sutterer says, adding, “There’s zero reason to speculate on his future in football or anything else that could have happened here at this time.”
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