Football is more than a sport. It’s a livelihood, a culture, a passion. And it’s a way of life. In recent years, football and life have never been more conjoined.
The football world was given a scare on Saturday when Christian Eriksen collapsed during Denmark’s Euro 2020 opener against Finland.
It was one of those moments when it seemed as if everything had stopped. As Christian Eriksen laid down unconscious, there was a show of concern from every corner of the Parken Stadium.
Both home and away fans, Danish and Finnish players, referees and medics, played important roles in the succeeding minutes till the player was resuscitated.
The world unites in support of Christian Eriksen
Once the Danish players, led by Simon Kjaer, formed a wall to shield the struggling Eriksen from the lenses of the shameless cameramen, it was evident that the situation was serious.
Thankfully, though, the medics came through and managed to revive the Inter Milan star. As Christian Eriksen was stretchered off the pitch, fans of both teams could be heard chanting his name.
“Christian! Christian!” the Denmark supporters chanted, and their Finnish counterparts responded, “Eriksen! Eriksen!” It was the most vivid display of support for a player who was battling for his life some moments ago.
On social media, the outpouring of support and concern was incredible.
Fellow players and other national teams immediately began tweeting messages of support for Christian Eriksen. Even rival club teams joined in wishing the 29-year-old a speedy recovery.
Football’s altruistic element still intact
Football has shifted from a sport built on passion and fandom to one that prioritizes profits over anything. Players are being made to play several matches a season with little consideration for their mental and physical health.
However, the reaction to the Eriksen incident shows football’s altruistic elements are still very much alive. There are still many who value human life over the 90-minute scoreline.
That, though, doesn’t absolve UEFA and FIFA over the blatant abuse of the sport. The latest events are enough evidence that players are not robots and their health should be taken seriously.
Thankfully, Eriksen has regained consciousness, but it’s unlikely that he’ll play in the tournament again. There are lessons to be learned, and the biggest relief is that our sport has still got great regard for human life.