If Denmark international Christian Eriksen decides to play again after surviving a heart attack six months ago at Euro 2021, he will not be in Italy.
Eriksen’s Italian team, Inter Milan, The 29-year-old’s contract was terminated by mutual consent on December 17, formalizing the departure that had been expected for some time. The Dane is now a free agent and free to join any club he wishes to sign with.
“The club and the entire Nerazzurri family embrace the player and wish him success in his future,” Read Inter . statement. “Although Inter and Christian are now separated, the bond will never be broken. The good times, the goals, the victories, those Scudetto celebrations with the fans outside San Siro – all this will remain forever in the history of the Nerazzurri.”
Why did Inter terminate Eriksen’s contract?
Eriksen collapsed on the field during Euro 2020 at Copenhagen’s Barken stadium and received life-saving treatment, with his heart re-pulsed by on-site medical staff. After initially recovering in hospital, Eriksen was fitted with an implantable cardioverter-defibrillator that could return his heart to a regular rhythm if a problem appeared in the future.
According to the rules set by the Italian National Olympic Committee (CONI), Eriksen is not allowed to play in Italy while he is equipped with such a device. Consequently, he is unable to play for Inter – or any other Italian team – while the device is surgically implanted.
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Eriksen was on a contract worth $11 million a year with Inter that lasted until the summer of 2024, but the terms of termination were not disclosed. In addition to his salary, the Italian side paid more than $22 million in transfer fees to Tottenham Hotspur to get him in January 2020.
Reports in Italy indicate that FIFA Club Protection Program Inter Milan will compensate you $8.5 million for a maximum period of 365 days due to the accident occurring in the line of national team duty. The club is said to also have a private insurance policy that covers the Nerazzurri for the salary scale and transfer costs accrued.
Eriksen’s time at Inter has been short but memorable since his arrival from Spurs in January of 2020. It took some time to settle in, but Eriksen left Italy as the Scudetto winner, and racked up a number of key moments, including a late free kick. The winner of the Milan derby.
Why can’t Eriksen play in Italy
The device that Eriksen is fitted with is known as an implantable cardioverter-defibrillator. This device is implanted under the skin near the collarbone and connected to the heart with tiny wires.
In patients with known heart problems, the device is able to recognize an irregular or stopped heartbeat and can deliver an electrical shock to restart the heart, just as an external defibrillator does. Some newer versions of the device also have the ability to double as a pacemaker, allowing it to not only shock a stopped heart, but also allow it to deliver more restrictive electrical currents to regulate a slow or irregular heartbeat.
Other professional football players have received this device in the past. Fabrice Mwamba, whose heart stopped for 78 minutes while playing for Bolton, was fitted with this device after miraculously recovering, although he never played professionally again.
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Former Manchester United defender and current Ajax captain Daley Blind has also been fitted with the ICD after an episode he experienced in a 2019 Champions League match. He has returned to playing at a senior level since the incident and this season, Blind has played every Ajax game across the Eredivisie and Champions League. , where he’s clocked nearly 1,700 minutes already.
There are different opinions across Europe and the world about the risks of continuing to be active while wearing an ICD.
Dr. Jason Bradley, a non-surgical cardiologist who specializes in sports cardiology at Lankenau Medical Center in Pennsylvania, says acceptance of the device is growing but remains sporadic across the athletic community.
“It used to be that cardiologists would tell people ‘no’.” [to athletic activity] To get everyone off the hook [for liabilty reasons], Dr. Bradley told Sporting News. “Now, we’re kind of rethinking that. But there’s still a balance between the realistic chances of an event and the responsibility that doctors and medical professionals are willing to accept.”
Italy has been recognized as a leader in sports cardiology, according to Dr Bradley, and Inter Milan cited the Italian medical community in a statement in August that addressed Eriksen’s future with the club and indicated a possible move abroad.
“The player has been temporarily banned by the Italian Medical Authority from practicing any sporting activity in the current season,” the statement read. “Although the current conditions of the player do not meet the requirements to achieve sports fitness in Italy, the same can be achieved in other countries where the player can resume his competitive activity.”
Is it safe for Eriksen to play again?
The midfielder has not yet officially confirmed his desire and determination to return to professional football, but all indications are that he is leaning in that direction. He is currently training at the facilities of Danish Superliga club Odense BK, the boyhood club where Eriksen started his youth career before moving to Ajax youth team in 2009.
A detailed diagnosis of Eriksen’s heart disease was not revealed during Euro 2020, and reports since then indicate that it remains unclear what caused the cardiac arrest. Originally, Dr. Bradley said, experts were advising athletes not to return to any more challenging sports activities than playing golf. Now, some are starting to trust the hardware more, but the risk is still there.
Prior to approximately 2012 to 2015, [experts said] “Impossible, you get an ICD, you don’t play.” Now, there are a lot of studies showing that it’s not really as dangerous to return to activity as we originally thought. However, Dr. Bradley says, Suggest a new search that 1 in 10 individuals fitted with an implantable defibrillator due to a major cardiac event participating in athletics will have another event, then the question turns to the reliability of the device and remaining liability for failure.
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In the United States there are no universal restrictions or requirements for a cardiac screening, but most sports organizations still do their job. Dr. Bradley referred to a notable domestic incident that occurred in 1996, when Northwestern basketball player Nicholas Knapp was deemed ineligible by school medical professionals after he was fitted with an implantable pacemaker and defibrillator. Knapp sued the school, and while he initially won the court case, it was overturned on appeal, resulting in the right to consider the player ineligible for cardiac concerns.
The concern in contact sports is often the damage to the ICD through accidental effects that occur during the normal course of participation in the sport. This can damage the implantable cardioverter-defibrillator without the patient’s knowledge, potentially causing it to fail if it is later called for a cardiac event.
Where will Eriksen play?
It is not only clear if Eriksen would like to play again, but where he might play if he does. While it is generally accepted that Italy has among the strictest regulations regarding athletics and the ICD, any club wishing to sign Eriksen will certainly do their own cardiac examination, and what results remain to be seen.
Eriksen, now a free agent, could choose the path of Sergio Aguero, who has announced his retirement due to an irregular heartbeat. Aguero assured fans several times during his press conference that he had discovered “everything is possible to have some hope of playing”, but eventually received enough medical advice to call time on his career. It is not clear if the ICD will be an option for Aguero.
As for Eriksen, if he wishes to continue playing, he will likely explore the clubs with which he already has a relationship. Eriksen spent three excellent seasons at Ajax, where the aforementioned blind already plays with the ICD. Denmark’s more modest BK Odense has also expressed an interest if the opportunity presents itself although the club’s financial realities may make that unlikely.
His former club, Tottenham, and London-based West Ham have also come up in speculation. English clubs have strict screening procedures He should pass, but there are no blanket rules preventing his return to the Premier League.
“In Italy, there is a long-standing nationwide cardiac screening policy that applies across all sports participation and does not allow participation if the risk of sudden cardiac arrest is increased during exercise,” an FA spokesperson said in late October. Approved in other countries, including the UK.