Over the weekend, like most of the world, I watched on in utter horror as the highly talented Danish footballer and father of two, Christian Eriksen, collapsed during the Euro 2020 football match versus Finland. We now know he suffered a cardiac arrest and is thankfully (and remarkably) recovering well.
What we saw shocked and horrified the public, but at the same time we witnessed acts of professionalism, real decisiveness, true leadership and compassion. The match referee, Englishman Anthony Taylor, was one of the first to act decisively, alerting medical staff that something was seriously wrong. The medics, of whom we are all eternally grateful for their efforts over the last 18 months, moved at breakneck speed to help assess and dramatically decide that CPR was needed for Eriksen. Both referee and medical staff reacted professionally but critically, at speed.
Then there’s the leader, the Danish captain, Simon Kjaer. He ensured Eriksen didn’t swallow his tongue after he collapsed then, despite the growing panic and concerns in the stadium, led his team in forming a shield on the pitch around the prone Eriksen who was receiving CPR, in an act of togetherness, strength, and to protect the dignity of the player. As things started to deteriorate, he was seen comforting Eriksen’s distraught partner who went on to the pitch, displaying levels of compassion and strength belying the chaos that had ensued. Remember, he is a professional footballer.
What the weekend highlighted was that in incredibly challenging times when the turmoil of the situation can overwhelm people, a clear, decisive and empathic thought process is key to finding a solution. The teamwork and professionalism shown by Taylor, the medical staff and Kjaer saved Eriksen’s life – without question. In Kjaer’s case, his clarity, calmness, empathy, and decisive leadership came to the fore and have made him a real modern-day hero. One we can all hope to emulate.
Jamie Brownlee, Director at Greentarget
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