Soccer Star’s Collapse Was Unrelated to COVID-19 Vaccine

By Sean Carlin

Posted on June 21, 2021

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SciCheck Digest

Danish soccer star Christian Eriksen is recovering well after he suffered cardiac arrest and collapsed during a match on June 12. But after the incident, social media posts falsely claimed he had recently been vaccinated for COVID-19 and suggested that led to his collapse. Team officials said he has not been vaccinated. 




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Danish soccer player Christian Eriksen was waiting to receive a throw-in during the first half of his team’s opening Euro 2020 match on June 12 in Copenhagen when he suddenly collapsed, suffering cardiac arrest. He received medical treatment on the field and was awake when he left. He since has undergone an operation and has been released.

But soon after he collapsed during the match, erroneous speculation emerged on social media appearing to link a COVID-19 vaccination to the incident. A since-deleted tweet falsely claimed Eriksen received the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine on May 31.

“Inter Milan Chief Medic and Cardiologist confirmed that he received the Pfizer vaccine 12 days ago,” read one tweet attributing the quote to Radio Sportiva. The claim has been reposted on Instagram and Facebook.

But Inter Milan’s director, Giuseppe Marotta, denied the claims and said Eriksen, who also plays for the Italian club, had no previous signs of health issues.

“He didn’t have COVID and wasn’t vaccinated either,” Marotta reportedly told Rai Sport.

Radio Sportiva also disputed the social media claims, saying on Twitter that the radio station never interviewed any Inter Milan officials about Eriksen’s condition.

Denmark’s match against Finland was nearing the half when Eriksen fell to the ground. The match was suspended after a lengthy delay as medical staff performed CPR and used a defibrillator to resuscitate him. He was taken to a hospital and was later reported to be in stable condition.

The Danish Football Union said in a tweet on June 17 that Eriksen would receive an implantable cardioverter defibrillator — a heart starter. The device is necessary after a “cardiac attack due to rhythm disturbances,” according to the sports organization.

Eriksen was discharged from the hospital on June 18 after a “successful operation,” the sports organization told CNN.

The speculation surrounding Eriksen’s vaccination status came as health officials investigate elevated cases of heart inflammation — particularly in young men — following their second dose of an mRNA vaccine. More than 300 cases of myocarditis and pericarditis following vaccination have been reported in teens and young adults, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

“I think this is probably a real phenomenon,” Dr. Paul Offit, director of the Vaccine Education Center at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, said in a hospital video. “But it is rare, occurring in about one in 50,000 recipients.”

Offit said the symptoms of myocarditis are normally short-lived and can involve chest pain and occasionally shortness of breath. The decision to vaccinate is still a safer choice, he said.

Dr. E Kevin Hall, an assistant professor of pediatrics at the Yale School of Medicine, said the patients his institution has seen with suspected post-vaccination myocarditis have done well and have been discharged.

“The cases of possible myocarditis as a result of the COVID vaccines appears to be very rare,” Hall told us in an email. “We believe the risks of COVID far outweigh the risks of the possible vaccine side effect.”

The CDC recommends COVID-19 vaccines for any person over age 12. An advisory committee to the agency is expected to review the cases of myocarditis at a meeting this month.

Editor’s note: SciCheck’s COVID-19/Vaccination Project is made possible by a grant from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. The foundation has no control over our editorial decisions, and the views expressed in our articles do not necessarily reflect the views of the foundation. The goal of the project is to increase exposure to accurate information about COVID-19 and vaccines, while decreasing the impact of misinformation.

Sources

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. “Myocarditis and Pericarditis Following mRNA COVID-19 Vaccination.” Updated 27 May 2021.

Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia. “What Should I Know About COVID-19 Vaccine and Myocarditis in Teens?” 14 Jun 2021.

Church, Ben. “Christian Eriksen discharged from hospital after ‘successful operation.’” CNN. 18 Jun 2021.

Myocarditis and Pericarditis Following mRNA COVID-19 Vaccination

Myocarditis and Pericarditis Following mRNA COVID-19 Vaccination

Denmark’s Christian Eriksen collapsed on the field. He is responsive and awake.” New York Times. 12 Jun 2021.

Edwards, Erika. “Evidence grows stronger for Covid vaccine link to heart issue, CDC says.” NBC News. 10 Jun 2021.

Hall, E Kevin. Assistant professor of pediatrics, Yale School of Medicine. Email to FactCheck.org. 18 Jun 2021.

Inter director says Eriksen did not have COVID and was not vaccinated.” Reuters. 13 Jun 2021.

Klosok, Aleks. “Christian Eriksen thanks well-wishers, says he’s feeling ‘fine’ in first social media post since cardiac arrest.” CNN. 15 Jun 2021.

“Press Briefing by White House COVID-19 Team and Public Health Officials.” Whitehouse.gov. 17 Jun 2021.

Silberner, Joanne. “Pfizer’s COVID Vaccine In Teens And Myocarditis: What You Need To Know.” NPR. 17 Jun 2021.

 

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