It was not supposed to happen on a field of play, with the world watching, but Christian Eriksen’s collapse on Saturday may well prove to be the most important and most impactful moment of Euro 2020.

Thankfully he survived and appears to be in a stable condition in hospital.

It could so easily have been a sadder story though. It is reported that of those who suffer cardiac arrest outside of a hospital setting the survival rate is as low as ten per cent.

Cardiac arrest is different to a heart attack in that it leads to the stopping of the heart entirely, caused by a structural or electrical abnormality that was likely present since birth but which is extremely hard to forecast.

Eriksen survived because his teammate Simon Kjaer understood CPR and was able to deliver it on the pitch while medical personnel rushed to the scene.

This kept blood pumping around his body and kept him alive.

Once the defibrillator arrived it is reported that it took only one blast to effectively restart his heart and bring him back to life.

The presence of defibrillators at clubs and in public locations is a crucial aspect of public health provision and their maintenance, as well as the training that goes with them will hopefully receive a major boost as a result of the events on Copenhagen at the weekend.

It would have to be hoped that whoever was good enough to put their hands up to oversee the defibrillators will have done a check on Saturday or yesterday to make sure that they were in good working order.

In many cases, sadly due to vandalism, the machines have to be locked and the key stored in an accessible location. If you are in a club with a machine, you should know how that system works. It could save the life of someone in your community.

CPR, or Cardio Pulmonary Resuscitation, is the other aspect that saved Eriksen. Training is easily accessible so that people know how it works. For the sake of an hour out of our lives, we could save a life.

Here is a list of currently available course around Ireland as provided by the Irish Heart Foundation.


The FAI runs a notable Heart Care Programme with the support of Brendan O’Carroll and Mrs Brown’s Boys which helps to protect against Sudden Cardiac death.  Read more about the campaign here.

AIG and Dublin GAA ran a Heart Health Roadshow in 2019, showing what is possible between sport and sponsors in the area of health. Read more here.

In 2018 Bank of Ireland used its partnership with the Irish Rugby Provinces to highlight an initiative providing CPR training to 300,000 teenagers across the country.  Read more about that here.


The FAI, Bank of Ireland, AIG and Dublin GAA are among the 250+ members of the Sport for Business network of sporting and business organisations working together across a number of key areas.


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