In almost a similar scenario to what happened as the football fraternity lost Cameroon midfield gem Marc Vivien Foe in 2003, Denmark maestro Christian Eriksen collapsed on the pitch on Saturday.
His side was taking on Finland in the Euro 2020 championship in Copenhagen when the Inter Milan star collapsed as a throw-in was directed at him in the 42nd minute.
The referee instantly stopped play and the medical team attended to him for several minutes before he was taken to hospital.
Unlike Foe who was pronounced dead after minutes at the end of Cameroon’s 1-0 win over Colombia in the Confederation Cup on June 26, 2003, Eriksen’s life was saved and reports suggest he is now stable and getting further medical attention.
We all know that nothing happens without the will of God but Foe’s death was an eye opener to the sports and football fraternity in particular that players need a lot of supervision in regards to their health.
What was missed in giving first aid to Foe that could have saved his life was done when Eriksen went down.
In an interview with BBC Sport 2013, Sanjay Sharma, a Professor of Cardiology at St George’s, University of London admitted he was shocked when he watched footage of the on-field treatment that Foe received.
“A player went down without any contact, his eyes rolled back, he had no tone in his body, so it was clear something terrible had gone wrong,” he said as quoted by BBC in 2013.
“It took quite a while for the penny to drop that this was not going to get better with the magic sponge or fluid being poured on his head though. As cardiologists, we like resuscitation to start within a minute and a half of someone going down, and for the defibrillator to be used within three minutes.
“That gives us an outcome of about 70% living. Yet a good five, six minutes went by before I could see any positive action with Marc-Vivien Foe. That was perhaps because this was the first time something like this had happened in football. After all, you don’t expect a champion footballer like this to go down and die.”
Since then, massive improvements have been made according to then Fifa Chief Medical Officer Jiri Dvorak.
“We have done a lot of work to reduce the risk of sudden cardiac arrest since then,” he told BBC Sport. “At all levels, we have examination of players before arrival at a competition.
“We have also trained the side-line medical teams in CPR and using defibrillators. We have a plan if something happens and the equipment – including for the team physicians of all teams. The medical personnel are adequately educated.”
Live reporting as Eriksen was being treated on the pitch indicates use of CPR as one of the first treatments given to Eriksen.
Using the same treatment, former Bolton Wanderers midfielder Fabrice Muamba was also saved when he suffered a cardiac arrest during an FA match against Spurs over ten years ago.
“If you look at the first minutes of him (Muamba) going down, it was clear the medical staff quickly realised the severity of the situation,” said Sharma.
“The first thing I noticed in the Bolton doctor’s hand was a defibrillator. They started resuscitation on the pitch and delivered two shocks before they moved him.”
Continue Resting Peace, Legend Marc Vivien Foe. Get well soon maestro Christian Eriksen.