Denmark captain Simon Kjaer and the medical team that saved Christian Eriksen’s life are the recipients of this year’s UEFA President’s Award.
Eriksen, 29, suffered cardiac arrest during Denmark’s Euro 2020 defeat by Finland in Copenhagen on 12 June.
Kjaer has been recognised for showing “exceptional leadership qualities” in his response to the situation.
Thanking the medical team, Inter Milan player Eriksen said: “You did a fantastic job and saved my life.”
“Also a big thanks to my friend and captain Simon and my team-mates in the Danish team for your support, both on 12 June and afterwards.
“Thanks to all the fans who have sent messages to me and my family. It means a lot and has given us strength and support. Thank you.”
Former Tottenham player Eriksen collapsed shortly before half-time against Finland and needed to be treated with a defibrillator as he was resuscitated by medics.
He was fitted with an ICD – implantable cardioverter defibrillator – and is now recovering.
‘The team reacted as a unit’ – Kjaer
Kjaer was commended for his “admirable response” to the situation.
The AC Milan defender, 32, put Eriksen in the recovery position, started the initial CPR procedure before leading the Danish players in forming a ring around Eriksen as he received medical attention and comforted Eriksen’s partner.
“It’s something that will stay with us for the rest of our lives,” said Kjaer.
“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. I think it’s one of the biggest privileges I have in my career.
“I’ve known Christian for many years. He has a great family, he has a lot of friends, a lot of team-mates that want the best for him. As long as he’s happy and his family is good, I’m happy.”
The medical team responded quickly and resuscitated Eriksen with CPR and a defibrillator before he was stretchered off and taken to hospital.
“We rushed to the field to help [Christian] and to do our job,” said Mogens Kreutzfeldt, chief medical officer for Euro 2020 in Copenhagen.
“We did what we should, what we were taught, what we were trained to do.
“Everybody knew their role, everybody knew what to do. We were not emotional at the scene. Afterwards, we were, of course, like everybody. We’re very happy and proud of the outcome.”
“This year, the President’s Award transcends football,” said Uefa president Aleksander Ceferin.
“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.”
Recipients of the 2021 Uefa President’s Award:
On-site medical team
Mogens Kreutzfeldt (chief medical officer)
Frederik Flensted (stadium medical manager)
Anders Boesen (pitchside emergency doctor)
Peder Ersgaard (paramedic)
Uefa Venue medical officers
Danish national medical team
Morten Skjoldager (physio accompanying the team doctor)
Morten Boesen (team doctor)
Simon Kjaer (Denmark national team captain)