Covid 19: Vaccine theory of footballers collapse debunked

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Christian Eriksen lying on the ground after collapsing during Euro 2020. Photo / AP

When Danish footballer Christian Eriksen suffered cardiac arrest and collapsed face forward on the turf of Copenhagen’s Parken Stadium in June, spectators, team-mates and opposing players held their collective breath.

The 29-year-old was, for a few minutes at least, as close to death as he could get. Team doctor Martin Boesen said “he was gone” before paramedics brought him back.

The incident had a dramatic effect on Eriksen. As previously reported, doctors still don’t know what caused his heart problems, but they don’t think it’s safe for him to lace up the boots again.

Fast forward five months and Sheffield United midfielder John Fleck had to be stretched off the pitch after collapsing mid-game against Reading.

The 30-year-old Scotland international went down uncontested and the game was stopped for over 10 minutes.

The BBC reports that Fleck is “in good health”, but what caused him to collapse is unknown.

The two incidents are not isolated. In fact, there have been a number of similar moments involving elite athletes.

The German newspaper Berliner Zeitung cataloged them in an article titled: “Confusing heart disease in football”.

The article lists 21 incidents from the “recent weeks and months” involving players, coaches, a referee and even a sporting director who collapsed, suffered a heart attack or sadly died of heart problems during a game.

“An unusually high number of professional and amateur football players have collapsed recently,” the article read.

“Professional player Sergio Agüero of FC Barcelona will be out for at least three months. The 33-year-old was substituted for the match against Deportivo Alavés with respiratory problems.

“He was holding his chest and was admitted to hospital. He is currently being treated by a cardiologist for heart problems. During the European Championship, player Christian Eriksen collapsed in front of the cameras. Diagnosis: cardiac arrest .”

Berliner Zeitung noted that “sudden cardiac death during exercise has ‘different triggers'”.

The incidents have been seized upon by conspiracy theorists who say the Covid-19 vaccine is to blame.

Athletes have expressed concern and a right-wing political party in New Zealand – the Outdoors Party – has linked vaccines to 90 apparent medical emergencies involving athletes in two dozen countries.

But the mass hysteria is unfounded. As the ABC’s fact-checkers discovered, many of the names on those lists died of “heat stroke, on-field collision, apparent suicide” and that “athletes ” included a golf caddy and retired players.

Dr Jonathan Drezner, from a group of doctors monitoring heart disease in athletes during the pandemic, told the ABC that the link between the vaccine and deaths on the sports field was “misinformation” and that there has been “no increase in sudden cardiac arrests or deaths in young athletes”.

The Australian Technical Advisory Group on Immunizations (ATAGI) monitors reports of rare but “potentially serious adverse events following vaccination, including heart problems such as myocarditis and/or pericarditis”.

“These conditions can occur in the absence of vaccination and are also a recognized complication of COVID-19,” says ATAGI.

The TGA publishes a weekly report detailing the estimated rate of myocarditis after the first and second doses by age and sex.

He notes: “The rates seen in Australia are consistent with international data. These data show a higher rate in younger individuals (particularly younger males) and after a second dose. Most reported cases have been mild , self-limited and recovered quickly, although further follow-up of these cases is ongoing.ATAGI noted that a small number of cases were more serious, requiring hospitalization.

ATAGI stated from the outset that the benefits of vaccination against Covid-19 “far outweigh the risks of myocarditis and/or pericarditis for any age group”.

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