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A doctor who dramatically raced from the stands to help save the life of Denmark's Christian Eriksen after his on-pitch cardiac arrest has revealed the player's first words on coming around.
German doctor Jens Kleinfeld was - by chance - watching Denmark vs Finland from the stands, having conducted a medical training session earlier. When he saw on-pitch medics struggling to handle the awful situation, he dashed down from his seat, on to the field and took over the emergency treatment.
When Eriksen opened his eyes, Dr Kleinfeld said: "Are you back again?" The player replied - in English - "Yes, I am here" before adding: "Oh s**t, I've only just turned 29 years old."
It's clear from his words that Eriksen was all too aware that something had gone seriously wrong, connected to his heart, as soon as he regained consciousness. The player is currently continuing his recovery in hospital in Copenhagen.
On how he ended up leaping from his seat to take the lead in resuscitating Eriksen, Dr Kleinfeld explained to German outlet Bild (as reported in the Guardian): "I was in the stands on the opposite side as he collapsed. At first I didn't think anything of it.
"But then I saw how the Danish team doctor was acting in quite a hectic manner. I recognised that it was no normal injury.
"The players had their heads in their hands. At which point I gave the sideline team a sign and they ran on to the pitch. They had a defibrillator with them. I then told my colleagues I was sitting with in the stands: 'We have to go on to the pitch.'"
While the process of resuscitation had begun, the experienced emergency medic took control when he believed the Danish team doctor might be struggling to cope.
"He initially failed to grasp the extent of the situation," said Dr Kleinfeld. "When you start a resuscitation you need to do it as quickly as possible. But the team doctors are mainly treating many other injuries, which is why it's more difficult for them to immediately recognise sudden cardiac death."
The electric shocks from the defibrillator were the crucial treatment in bringing Eriksen back, the doctor added.
"Speed is of the essence. It took two or three minutes for Eriksen to get the electric shock. That meant his chance of survival was very high," he said.
As the 10th minute comes to an end, the game is momentarily stopped - leading to a minute's applause for the #DEN No 10, Christian Eriksen :clap:#DENBEL ' #ITVFootball ' #Euro2020 pic.twitter.com/EUMWYyNqfv
- ITV Football (@itvfootball) June 17, 2021
After Eriksen opened his eyes and made his comment about being only 29 years old, Dr Kleinfeld explained: "I told him that everything was now OK and he was not in danger any more.
"He understood everything immediately and straight away put his arm on his chest."
The player is now to have a heart starter device fitted, the Danish national team have confirmed.
All imagery: PA Images
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