Brentford new boy Christen Eriksen has revealed that he knew a return to football was possible just two days after suffering a cardiac arrest.
Eriksen collapsed on the pitch at the Parken Stadium in June during Denmark’s European Championship group game against Finland.
En route to the hospital in Copenhagen, he told his wife Sabrina that he would probably never play football again.
However, that quickly changed. The 29-year-old was fitted with an implantable cardioverter defibrillator (ICD) days after the collapse and doctors gave him hope he could play again.
Eriksen was unable to continue his career with Inter Milan due to rules in Italy concerning athletes fitted with the device. But after the Denmark midfielder completed the relevant medical assessments he was able to sign for Brentford on the final day of the January transfer window.
Speaking to the club’s media channels for the first time on Monday evening, he said: “On the way to the hospital I told Sabrina I may as well leave my boots here.
“It changed two days later. It was in the moment. I recognised what happened to me later on that night and the next few days. Then all the tests started and all the knowledge started to come in and all the questions were being asked ‘Can I do this? Can I do that?’ and listen to the doctors.
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“Then after that it slowly took off in a way that if I can do tests with a doctor along the way then I can slowly get back to playing football.
“There were a lot of tests to see how the heart reacted to physical training again and luckily nothing came out of that and everything was good.
“Then, every month I could push it and then I could play. But the thing was hearing from the doctors that even with an ICD there are no limits, it just depends on the diagnosis and how you feel about it.
“I’ve had to be patient but I trusted my trainer and trusted my doctor and followed the plan they made and that made me comfortable and relaxed about it – about getting back to normal. But normal for me had to change.”
Eriksen has been out of football since the incident at Euro 2020 last summer.
Since then, the 109-cap international has trained with ex-academy side OB and also spent time with the youth team at Ajax as he regains his fitness.
“It is the longest I have been without playing football – by far,” said Eriksen.
“I’ve been lucky that I haven’t had any injuries really. To be without football for six or seven months is a very long time. It’s been very difficult. You have to let it heal and not do anything and then I started the rehab programme.
“Then I touched a ball and I’m on a football pitch, smell the grass, football boots, then everything starts coming back. The excitement to be in the stadium and be with the team.
“Condition-wise and strength-wise I am in a very good place, it’s just the football touch that needs to come back and get up to speed. We’ll see how my body reacts but I feel very good.”
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