Denmark soccer star Christian Eriksen, who suffered cardiac arrest and collapsed during Saturday’s Euro 2020 match against Finland, never received a Covid-19 vaccination, an Inter Milan official said, in an attempt to quell baseless rumors that Eriksen’s medical emergency was due to aftereffects of a coronavirus vaccine shot.
Inter Milan director Giuseppe Marotta flatly rejected suggestions that Eriksen had previously contracted the virus or had been vaccinated, telling Rai Sport on Sunday that Eriksen “didn’t have Covid and wasn’t vaccinated either.”
Almost immediately following Eriksen’s collapse on Saturday, conspiracy theories began spreading on social media that linked the footballer’s near-fatal incident to a vaccine.
A tweet from Czech physicist Luboš Motl falsely claiming that an Inter Milan doctor told an Italian radio station that Eriksen had received the Pfizer vaccine on May 31 went viral Saturday afternoon.
The unfounded claims attributing Eriksen’s collapse to a vaccine began spreading to other platforms, such as Instagram, Facebook, Telegram and QAnon channels, according to a Vice report.
Radio Sportiva said Sunday the disinformation was completely fabricated, stating it had “never reported any opinion from the Inter medical staff regarding Christian Eriksen’s condition.”
Monday morning, Matt Le Tissier, an English football television pundit and former legendary midfielder for Southampton football club, retweeted a post to his half-a-million followers that claimed that Google and other Big Tech corporations were “threatening ‘action’ if anyone linked the event with the jab.”
Eriksen, 29, collapsed on the field in the 43rd minute of Saturday’s European Championship match between Denmark and Finland. His teammates immediately began frantically gesturing for medical attention after he fell facedown after making a short pass. Eriksen was given a life-saving cardiac massage treatment on the pitch. Denmark’s team doctor Morten Boesen said Eriksen “was gone” before being resuscitated with a defibrillator. “How close were we? I don’t know. We got him back after one defib,” Boesen said. “That’s quite fast.” Eriksen regained consciousness before being carried off on a stretcher. Team officials said Monday Eriksen remains in stable condition at a Copenhagen hospital and had spoken to teammates via video. Eriksen released a statement Monday morning through his agent to Italy’s Gazzetta dello Sport. “Thank you, I won’t give up. I feel better now – but I want to understand what’s happened,” the statement read. “I want to say thank you all for what you did for me.”
After Radio Sportiva’s public denunciation of his false report, Motl deleted his post. However, he added: “I deleted the massively viewed tweet because Radio Sportiva’s Twitter account posted a denial of that information on their radio and my source could have been untrue, I am just unsure enough.” Alex Berenson, a former New York Times reporter and noted coronavirus skeptic, shared Motl’s post on Saturday. After Inter Milan confirmed Eriksen had never been vaccinated, Berenson tweeted, “replies show some folks aren’t convinced and raise the idea he was vaccinated away from Inter. The final answer will come from him/his doctors, if they speak.”
After Eriksen was rushed from the field to the hospital, the game was suspended for more than 90 minutes but resumed later that afternoon. UEFA, European football’s governing body, said both teams decided to continue playing during an emergency meeting. However, one of Eriksen’s teammates, Denmark striker Martin Braithwaite, harshly criticized the organization during a press conference on Monday. “We had two choices from UEFA, to go out and play the match immediately or play the next day at noon,” Braithwaite said. “None of those choices were good. We took the lesser of two evils to finish the match. Many of the players were not in a condition to play this match.” Denmark goalkeeper Kasper Schmeichel told reporters the team was “put in a position which I personally don’t think we should have been put in.”
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Midfielder Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg said Eriksen told the team to try to focus on playing their next game. Denmark’s next match is against Belgium on Thursday in Copenhagen.
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