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Danish soccer player Christian Eriksen, 29, suddenly collapsed June 12 during a UEFA European Championship match between Denmark and Finland. He was later reported to be stable at the hospital after suffering cardiac arrest.
The director of Eriksen’s professional team said he hadn’t received any COVID-19 vaccine or previously contracted the disease.
A small number of younger people have developed heart inflammation after receiving an mRNA-based vaccine. The possible link is currently being investigated by health agencies, including the CDC.
Christian Eriksen, a 29-year-old Danish soccer player, suddenly collapsed on the pitch during a June 12 European Championship match between the Denmark and Finland national teams. Tournament organizers and Denmark’s soccer federation later reported that Eriksen suffered cardiac arrest and was awake and responsive at the hospital.
It didn’t take long after Eriksen’s collapse for misinformation about his COVID-19 vaccination status to start circulating online.
An Instagram post shows a screenshot of a tweet that says: "Christian Eriksen, the Danish player who suddenly collapsed on the pitch, plays for Inter Milan. The chief medic and cardiologist of that Italian team confirmed on an Italian radio station that Eriksen has received the Pfizer vaccine on May 31."
The tweet, now deleted, came from Luboš Motl, a Czech physicist and blogger who has shared false information about COVID-19 and vaccines. Other tweets claimed that the station the chief medic spoke to was Radio Sportiva.
The post isn’t accurate. Inter Milan’s director said Eriksen hadn’t received any COVID-19 vaccine prior to his collapse, or contracted the disease in the past. Radio Sportiva denied that it made any such report.
The post was flagged as part of Facebook’s efforts to combat false news and misinformation on its News Feed. (Read more about our partnership with Facebook.)
Eriksen collapsed suddenly in the 43rd minute of the Group B opener between Denmark and Finland while he was running near the left touchline after a Denmark throw-in. His teammates gathered around him before he was carried off on a stretcher. The game was paused for over an hour.
A young athlete experiencing cardiac arrest is not common, but it’s also not unprecedented.
The rumor about Eriksen came amid reports of a small but higher-than-expected number of cases of heart inflammation — called myocarditis and pericarditis — developing in mostly young people after they received doses of mRNA-based COVID-19 vaccines.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced June 10 that it will convene an emergency meeting on June 18 to discuss a possible link between the condition and the vaccines. Other health organizations, like the European Medicines Agency, are also investigating.
But Eriksen’s collapse appears unrelated.
Motl had to take down his tweet after Inter Milan’s director Giuseppe Marotta told Italian sports TV channel Rai Sport that Eriksen hadn’t received any COVID-19 vaccine.
Radio Sportiva, meanwhile, denied that anyone on the team’s medical staff said otherwise.
"The information reported in the tweet mentioned is false," the radio station wrote in a June 13 tweet. We have never reported any opinion from the Inter medical staff regarding Christian Eriksen's condition."
The Inter Milan team doctor, Piero Volpi, told Italian sports newspaper Gazzetta dello Sport that Eriksen will undergo thorough examinations over the next few days. "But there has never been an episode that even remotely hinted at a problem," Volpi added.
Sanjay Sharma, Eriksen’s cardiologist while he played for former club Tottenham Hotspur, said that some players may have had mild or asymptomatic coronavirus infections, which could have resulted in "scarring" of the heart, but that Eriksen had no prior heart issues during his time with the Premier League. Eriksen signed with Inter Milan in January 2020.
Social media posts claim that Eriksen collapsed on the field from cardiac arrest days after receiving Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine.
The director of Inter Milan, the Italian professional team Eriksen plays for, said the footballer hadn’t received any of the vaccines.
He is currently undergoing testing to pinpoint the cause.
We rate this claim False.
Instagram post, June 13, 2021
New York Times, Denmark’s Christian Eriksen collapsed on the field. He is responsive and awake., June 12, 2021
Twitter, Radio Sportiva tweet, June 13, 2021
Reuters, Inter director says Eriksen did not have COVID and was not vaccinated, June 13, 2021
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Myocarditis and Pericarditis Following mRNA COVID-19 Vaccination, Updated May 27, 2021
CBS News, CDC plans "emergency meeting" on rare heart inflammation following COVID-19 vaccines, June 11, 2021
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