WHEN the playmaker got a pacemaker, most of us thought Christian Eriksen was finished in football.
But we were far too quick with this conclusion.
Christian Eriksen plotting his return to professional football following his cardiac arrest is up there with Jimenez, Cech and Woods in terms of grit and braveryCredit: Getty
Karren Brady has praised Christian Eriksen’s grit and determination as he plots his return to football following his cardiac arrest
The 29-year-old intends to press the restart button — and possibly with Premier League rookies Brentford.
Whether he eventually signs for manager Thomas Frank’s team is still open to doubt, because numerous clubs are waiting in the wings to pluck the Danish player from his private training regime.
Those sessions apparently convinced him and also presumably his medics, that he will be fit enough for the hardest league in the game.
Should he then return to international football, full of ambition to play in the World Cup this year, he will set a hugely encouraging precedent for others who have suffered cardiac arrest.
There was a death toll of 614 players, usually of heart attacks, between 2014 and 2018 — so when Eriksen collapsed during Denmark’s Euro 2020 group match with Finland in Copenhagen, there was every chance his name would be added to that tragic list.
Eriksen owes his life to the team-mates and medics who gave him heart massage on the pitch.
The disease that all too recently killed internationals Marc-Vivien Foe of West Ham and Manchester City, Antonio Puerta (Sevilla), Phil O’Donnell (Motherwell) and Cheick Tiote (Newcastle) is more than enough to justify the rigorous health testing demanded of our top leagues by the FA.
Even so, there was never a suggestion that Sergio Aguero had a heart condition when he was at Manchester City — but he then pulled up playing for Barcelona only a few months ago.
Eriksen is exceptional — and brave, too — in returning to the game in the face of a ruling in Italy, where he was playing for Inter Milan after his transfer from Spurs.
Inter handed him a free transfer which, consequently, was bound to increase interest in countries without similar health regulations.
The progress in his revived career will be charted across the world. I’m sure it is with appreciation that every pass from his glittering array will be watched by fans — but his stamina will be the true test.
Prolonged absence from the mental and physical demands required by top footballers is very difficult, no matter how hard their training.
Wolves star Raul Jimenez’s recovery from a horrific skull fracture has been gradual and carefully measured.
Just like Chelsea’s dauntless former goalkeeper Petr Cech, who also fractured his skull, Jimenez has to wear a head guard when he plays.
Just imagine the flashbacks they must have suffered with each headed challenge, or in Cech’s case, when diving into a scrum of players to fist away a cross.
Raul Jimenez was inspiring in his return to football following a fractured skullCredit: Alamy
Tiger Woods has had his own troubles but his willpower around golf is prodigiousCredit: AP
There is a sheer bloody-mindedness among sportsmen and women in their utter determination to get back to their sport — despite injuries that would leave most of us limping to hospital.
Always at hand is expert treatment, much superior to any in the outside world.
Players are high-earning professionals of huge value — at its simplest, the only real currency clubs have — and they are a human driving force to make the best of their careers while they still can. Slackers are short-term.
Most of this applies to big achievers in every sport.
Tiger Woods, 46, has had his own troubles but his willpower around golf is prodigious.
His back condition would have floored most people for life, however Woods fought unwaveringly.
Just as pundits were forecasting he would never win another Major, he did — his 15th — The Masters in 2019.
Some comeback. And after he fractured both legs and an ankle in a car crash last February, he’s practising again. Now that’s true grit.
And evidently Eriksen has plenty of that.
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