Milan defender Simon Kjaer and the Denmark medical staff are recipients of the 2021 UEFA President’s Award after saving Christian Eriksen’s life at UEFA EURO 2020.
The Inter midfielder collapsed and suffered a cardiac arrest during their opening match against Finland, but the quick reactions of Kjaer and then the medics managed to resuscitate Eriksen on the pitch.
Denmark captain Kjaer is honoured for his reaction and “exceptional leadership qualities” displayed during that moment, as not only did he put Eriksen in the recovery position and started CPR, he also he used the players to shield Eriksen from the media and comforted the player’s partner.
“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,” he added.
“I would also like to send my very best wishes to Christian Eriksen and his family as he continues his recovery.”
The recipients of the award are the on-site medical team Mogens Kreutzfeldt, Frederik Flensted, Anders Boesen, Peder Ersgaard, UEFA Venue Medical Officers Jens Kleinefeld and Valentin Velikov, Danish national medical team Morten Skjoldager and Morten Boesen and Denmark captain Simon Kjaer.
“I would like to thank Morten [Skjoldager], Morten [Boesen] and the medical team who helped in Parken on 12 June. You did a fantastic job and saved my life,” said Eriksen.
Also a big thanks to my friend and captain Simon and my teammates 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.”
Kjaer has tried to downplay his role in the dramatic situation, insisting he just did what was necessary in that moment.
“I try to lead the team on and off the pitch, in every aspect of life, as footballers, when we’re together,” he added. “I think it’s one of the biggest privileges I have in my career.
“I’ve known Christian [Eriksen] for many years. He has a great family, he has a lot of friends, a lot of teammates that want the best for him. As long as he’s happy and his family is good, I’m happy.”
🏅 This week, Denmark captain Simon Kjær and the medical team that saved the life of Christian Eriksen will receive the 2021 UEFA President’s Award.#UEFAawards
— UEFA (@UEFA) August 24, 2021