Christian Eriksen could resume career in England if he passed cardiac assessment

The Danish international is unable to play in Italy due to having a pacemaker fitted.

George Sessions
Saturday 30 October 2021 10:40
Christian Eriksen could resume his playing career in England (Paul Harding/PA)
Christian Eriksen could resume his playing career in England (Paul Harding/PA)

Inter Milan midfielder Christian Eriksen could be allowed to resume his football career in England if he was to pass an assessment by a sports cardiologist acting on behalf of the Football Association.

The 29-year-old has not played since he suffered a cardiac arrest during Denmark’s opening Euro 2020 game with Finland on June 12.

Eriksen collapsed during the first half of the match in Copenhagen and required a defibrillator to be used on the pitch before he was transferred to a local hospital where he was eventually declared to be in a stable condition.

Six days later the former Tottenham midfielder was fitted with an implantable cardioverter-defibrillator, a type of pacemaker, which prevents him from being able to play in Italy where athletes are not allowed to compete with a heart defibrillator implanted as per the Cardiological Organisational Committee for Sports Fitness protocol, last updated in 2017.

While nothing has been decided by Inter or Eriksen over his future, if the Danish international does want to return to action he looks set to have to join a league where he can play with an ICD, which is also the case for Ajax defender Daley Blind and the Premier League could be an option.

“With regard to Christian Eriksen playing in England, it is impossible to comment on his individual circumstances without knowledge of his condition and the risks associated with it. As always, any assessment would be on an individual basis,” an FA spokesperson told the PA news agency.

“In England, any player that has an abnormal cardiac screen or who develops a cardiac problem would be assessed by a sports cardiologist.

In Italy, there is a longstanding nationwide cardiac screening policy which runs across all sports participation and does not allow participation in a case of increased risk of sudden cardiac arrest during exercise.

FA spokesperson

“We would expect the sports cardiologist to be a member of The FA Cardiac Consensus Panel, a group of experienced sports cardiologists who advise The FA with regard to these issues and provide consultation and screening expertise for our cardiac screening programmes in professional football.

“This would also be done in association with the team doctor who usually looks after them. The cardiologist would look at the individual circumstances and the risk surrounding the player and they would make a decision on whether the player could continue to play or should stop.”

Any advice offered based on the results would be made with the player’s “own personal safety” in mind, with the FA overseeing around 1,500 cardiac screens in professional football per year.

While no player has been banned based on a cardiac screen, any participant would be made aware of the risks they are taking should they continue to play.

Eriksen spent seven seasons in England with Spurs before he joined Inter in 2020, where he helped them win Serie A last season, but he will have to leave the San Siro to keep playing or have his ICD removed.

“The FA would not ban someone from playing based on a cardiac screen,” an FA spokesman continued.

“Any risk is to the player themselves and not to others on the pitch, so it is an individual decision which the player takes with support and advice from those who are responsible for their personal medical wellbeing.

“In Italy, there is a longstanding nationwide cardiac screening policy which runs across all sports participation and does not allow participation in a case of increased risk of sudden cardiac arrest during exercise. This has not been adopted in other countries, including the UK.”

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