Christian Eriksen’s heart condition could prevent him from playing in Serie A again, as league health and safety rules forbid players with defibrillators taking to the pitch.
Eriksen is currently recovering from the cardiac arrest he suffered at Euro 2020, which led to distressing scenes in Denmark’s opening game with Finland.
Captain Simon Kjaer came to the rescue, performing CPR and putting his teammate into the recovery position until he could receive first aid from the medical staff. It may have ultimately saved his life, as Eriksen was soon rushed to hospital where he was fitted with a heart-starting defibrillator.
He was discharged from hospital within a week, but it remains unclear when – or if – he will make a return to the pitch.
Francesco Bracconaro, who serves on the Italian FA’s technical scientific committee, has shed some light on Serie A’s rules for players in Eriksen’s position. He explained on radio station Kiss Kiss Napoli that Italian football’s ‘conservative guidelines’ mean that Eriksen won’t be able to play for Inter until he has his defibrillator removed.
That’s because the Italian FA take its presence to mean that Eriksen is not fit for elite sport.
“In Italy we have very conservative guidelines regarding the health of players,” the doctor said. “Christian Eriksen cannot be eligible [to play in Serie A]. If the player has the defibrillator removed, therefore confirming the pathology can be resolved, then he can return to play for Inter.”
Defibrillators and pacemakers can be removed, but the procedure is rare and risky. Doctors would only sanction a removal in Eriksen’s case if they were 100% sure his cardiac arrest was an isolated incident, and it seems likely to be a while before that happens.
It’s possible we’ll see Eriksen play again, but Inter teammate Stefan de Vrij has called for patience, saying he ‘needs time’ before a potential return is on the table.
“I spoke to Eriksen when it happened,” he remarked to media. “I’ve been thinking about him for so long. Then I didn’t disturb him anymore because he must be receiving many messages. He needs time to regain fitness.”