(Reuters) – The Premier League said on Friday it is funding defibrillators at grassroots clubs and facilities to save lives if someone suffers a cardiac arrest in the wake of Christian Eriksen’s collapse at the European Championship.
The former Tottenham Hotspur midfielder collapsed in Denmark’s group opener against Finland. His life was saved when CPR was administered to him on the pitch and his heart was re-started with a defibrillator before he was taken to hospital.
The league said “more than 2,000 sites will benefit” with the first 1,000 units of Automated External Defibrillators (AED) to be delivered before the 2021-22 season begins.
“The traumatic incident we all witnessed when Christian Eriksen collapsed during Euro 2020 brings into sharp focus the need for defibrillators to be more widely available across the football community,” Premier League chief executive Richard Masters said.
“The welfare of participants and all those involved in football is a priority and this fund will support many people using football facilities not just with the provision of devices but also the training required to use the equipment.
“Sadly, a sudden cardiac incident could happen anytime, anywhere and we hope by enabling more facilities to have a device, it will make the difference in saving someone’s life.”
Eriksen was discharged from hospital after an operation to implant a heart starter device.
Former Bolton Wanderers midfielder Fabrice Muamba, who collapsed on the pitch in an FA Cup match in 2012 and was technically “dead” for 78 minutes, welcomed the initiative.
“I know from personal experience the importance of having access to this type of medical equipment and how vital it is for someone’s survival after suffering from sudden cardiac arrest,” he said.
“Educating people how to use defibrillators is crucial.”
(Reporting by Rohith Nair in Bengaluru; Editing by Toby Davis)