UEFA to honor Denmark medics, captain Simon Kjær with award for saving Christian Eriksen's life

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The medical staff and teammate who saved Denmark midfielder Christian Eriksen's life when he collapsed on the field at Euro 2020 will receive the UEFA President's Award, the governing body of European soccer announced on Tuesday.

Eriksen collapsed during Denmark's opening match against Finland on June 12. Medical professionals and team captain Simon Kjær gave him life-saving treatment before he was taken to the hospital. They will all be honored with the award. 

Medics honored with UEFA President's Award

Players escort paramedics as Denmark's midfielder Christian Eriksen is evacuated from the pitch during the EURO 2020 in June. The medics and Danish captain Simon Kjær are being honored by UEFA with the President's Award. (Photo by WOLFGANG RATTAY/POOL/AFP via Getty Images)
Players escort paramedics as Denmark's midfielder Christian Eriksen is evacuated from the pitch during the EURO 2020 in June. The medics and Danish captain Simon Kjær are being honored by UEFA with the President's Award. (Photo by WOLFGANG RATTAY/POOL/AFP via Getty Images)

The award recognizes outstanding achievements, professional excellence and exemplary personal qualities. UEFA President Aleksander Čeferin called the medical team the "true heroes of EURO 2020" and said it was an honor to give them the award. 

"This year, the President’s Award transcends football," he said in a statement. "It serves as an important and eternal reminder of just how precious life is and puts everything in our lives into the clearest perspective."

"I would also like to send my very best wishes to Christian Eriksen and his family as he continues his recovery."

UEFA invited the six medics who helped save Eriksen's life to the Euro 2020 final last month.

After Eriksen was transported to a nearby hospital, he underwent surgery to implant a heart starter. Similar to a pacemaker, it sends an electrical charge to his heart if it begins beating irregularly. 

The 29-year-old Inter Milan star returned to his club for the first time this month and is doing well. But it's unclear what his future in soccer will look like. Italy will not allow him to play with the pacemaker-like device. He can still pursue a playing career in other countries. 

Captain honored for on-pitch response

Kjær, 32, was one of the first people to Eriksen when he collapsed after receiving a throw-in near the end of the first half. He put Eriksen in the recovery position, started the initial CPR and instructed the Danish players to form a ring around Eriksen to protect him as he received life-saving treatment. 

"It's something that will stay with us for the rest of our lives," Kjær said, via UEFA. "The team reacted as a unit…as a team, we made the maximum effort to stick together and try to get through that situation and be as helpful as possible."

"I try to lead the team on and off the pitch, in every aspect of life, as footballers, when we’re together," he added. "I think it's one of the biggest privileges I have in my career."

Parademics arrived and continued CPR. The recipients of the award consist of: 

  • On-site medical team: Mogens Kreutzfeldt (chief medical officer), Frederik Flensted (stadium medical manager), Anders Boesen (pitchside emergency doctor) and Peder Ersgaard (paramedic)

  • UEFA venue medical offiers: Jens Kleinefeld and Valentin Velikov 

  • Danish national medical team: Morten Skjoldager (physio), Morten Boesen (team doctor), Simon Kjær (team captain) 

Eriksen sent a message of gratitude to the team and Kjær for their support and efforts as well as to fans who have sent messages and family that have given "strength and support." 

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