After recent events during a match at the European Championships, it is important that all football clubs, including at grassroots level, have access to a defibrillator.
In what was an extremely distressing turn of events in Copenhagen, Denmark’s Christian Eriksen collapsed. Medics rushed to the scene and performed emergency procedures on the 29-year-old, which involved the use of a defibrillator.
However, not all football clubs have access to the facilities, including defibrillators, needed to treat medical emergencies. This could be the potential difference between life and death should things go horribly wrong on the pitch. Any player at any given time can collapse during a match. Therefore, defibrillators and medics should be pitchside or easily accessible, regardless of the level of football.
Eriksen has been given the best possible chance of a successful recovery due to the rapid reactions of those around him. UEFA has since announced that the midfielder “is in hospital and stabilised”.
Medical treatment must be available for all
It’s hugely important to have defibrillators present at all levels of football games. It shouldn’t be exclusive to the top tier of football. Everyone should be given an equal opportunity to be treated safely. In grassroots football and lower leagues, trained medical staff and facilities should be available should a life-threatening issue occur.
Eriksen is an elite professional who has represented top-level clubs and represented his country on the world stage. If this situation can happen to him, it can happen to anyone. For the young women who are trying to progress through the ranks, a situation like this could put a player’s life in serious danger without rapid access to the correct treatment.
Trained medical staff and defibrillators may not be present in the lower league due to underfunding or perhaps because they are not seen as a priority. However, this should not stop them being provided with medical facilities that could save a life.
Everyone at any given level of football should be able to comfortably step out onto a pitch and play the game knowing they are in the best care in case an emergency occurs. Grassroots football in particular should be treated with the exact same professionalism as the elite level teams, rather than being left helpless in a life-threatening situation.
As an individual player playing at a grassroots level, I would feel more confident if there was a team of medics on the scene ready to act quickly in case the unthinkable happens. Instead, I play hoping nothing serious happens, which shouldn’t be the case.