Danish football star Christian Eriksen won’t be allowed to return for his title-winning Inter Milan this season after health rules effectively banned him from playing in Italy.
The football world was stunned when the midfielder suffered an on-field cardiac arrest and collapsed during Denmark’s opening Euro 2020 match against Finland in June.
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Teammates formed a shield around Eriksen as medics performed CPR on the pitch – several of the athletes were spotted in tears while others prayed.
As messages of support flooded in from players from all over the world, Eriksen issued a defiant statement as he began his recovery: “I won’t give up”.
The Danish team doctor who attended to Eriksen revealed his pulse stopped following his harrowing collapse and said “he was gone”, as medical experts raised doubts over whether he would be able to play football again.
Six days after collapsing, Eriksen was released from hospital following surgery to have an implantable cardioverter defibrillator (ICD) device fitted — a type of pacemaker that can prevent fatal cardiac arrests by discharging a jolt to restore a regular heart rhythm.
However, there is a blanket rule in Italy that bans elite athletes if they have suffered cardiac arrests and are at increased risk.
Francesco Braconaro, a member of the Italian Football Federation’s Technical Scientific committee, first said in August Eriksen would not be allowed to play in Italy unless his ICD device was removed.
Inter Milan has now said it is open to letting Eriksen leave the Serie A champions in an attempt to continue his career in a country that would allow him to play.
“With reference to the registration rights of the player Eriksen, it should be noted that following a serious injury which occurred during the European Championship in June 2021, the player has been temporarily inhibited by the Italian medical authority from sporting activity in the current season,” Inter Milan said in a statement.
“Although the current conditions of the player don’t meet the requirements of achieving sporting fitness in Italy, the same could instead be achieved in other countries where the player could resume competitive activity.”
Any return to playing professional football would be a remarkable feat given Eriksen narrowly avoided death only a few months ago.
There is a possibility he could play in the English Premier League, which would assess any players with history of cardiac arrests on a case-by-case basis.
A precedent does exist for a player who suffered a cardiac arrest to return to top-flight football.
Dutch defender Daley Blind was fitted with an ICD and has continued playing for Ajax in the Netherlands’ top-tier league after being diagnosed with heart inflammation.
Eriksen started his career at Ajax before moving to Tottenham Hotspur in the EPL, where he enjoyed a successful seven-year stint.