Retired England batsman James Taylor, who in 2016 had to quit Cricket due to a rare heart condition, asserted that he was incredibly lucky to survive and said that he understands what Christian Eriksen is going through. Taylor further advised Eriksen to be open to people about how he feels.
The world was witness to horror visuals on the second day of Euro 2020 as Danish superstar Christian Eriksen collapsed on the pitch mid-game, suffering a cardiac arrest on the field. The visuals left those watching in shock, but the proficiency of the medical staff - and the players - at the ground meant that Eriken’s life was saved.
And in the entire sporting universe, few can relate to Eriksen’s situation better than England’s James Taylor. A gifted batsman who five years ago was regarded as the best young cricketer in England, Taylor had to retire from cricket in 2016, at just the age of 26, when he was diagnosed with Arrhythmogenic Right Ventricular Cardiomyopathy (ARVC). The heart condition forced Taylor to immediately quit the sport, and the Nottingham man’s life, tragically, turned upside down overnight.
Now, 5 years on, the Eriksen incident has brought back unpleasant memories for Taylor, and, speaking to Daily Mail, the 31-year-old revealed how he has lucky to survive, insisting that he ‘should have died’.
“I wasn’t watching the match when Christian collapsed but I soon found out about it because my phone went mental,’ said Taylor, now, at 31, England’s head scout. ‘So many people got in touch and that was lovely they thought about me,” Taylor told Daily Mail.
“It brings back a lot of memories but every one of these cases is different. I don’t know exactly what Eriksen has but I imagine it is something similar to me and every time I see something like this I realise how lucky I was because 80 per cent of ARVC cases (a disease of the heart muscle) are only discovered in post-mortems.
“I should have died. The cardiologists had never seen anyone present what I did so I was incredibly lucky. Just as Christian is. And it does put things in perspective. It allows me, weirdly, to enjoy things a bit more.”
Eriksen has now been discharged from the hospital following a successful operation, but there is, unfortunately, little chance of the Danish star resuming his career. Taylor went through the same drill five years ago, and the 31-year-old advised Eriksen to keep himself mentally sane. The Nottingham man claimed that he achieved the same by being open about how he felt, to the people around him.
“The one thing I’d say from what I’ve learnt is you can’t control what’s going on physically but you can control what’s going on upstairs. It’s one thing battling with your body but don’t battle with yourself mentally and bottle things up,” Taylor said.
“I chose to be open with people around me. I shared every feeling I had with my wife, so if I pulled a face she immediately knew what was going on inside me. If I could talk to Christian Eriksen now I’d say just try to be honest about how you’re feeling.
“And realise how incredibly lucky you are because it could have been very different. Yes, his world is upside down right now but life itself is a great option. And he’s got that.”
Staying alive has come at a cost for Taylor, and having a defibrillator fit inside his heart has meant that he’s had to give up certain luxuries. The 31-year-old, who is currently the English cricket side's head scout, revealed that he now has to think about every activity he does.
“I don’t drink coffee or do anything that will raise my heart-rate. I’m pretty chilled but I do have to think about everything. And having the defibrillator does mean I’ll have to have major heart surgery every seven to 10 years. The more the beeping goes off the quicker I have to have it changed. I’ll have to have that operation continuously for the rest of my life.”