first aid christian eriksen
Chris­tian Eriksen of team Denmark collap­sed during EURO 2020Bild: Marco Iacobucci/

Denmark’s first-aider is a hero of Euro 2020

It was one of the most shocking moments of the UEFA European Champi­on­ship 2020, as Denmark’s midfield star Chris­tian Eriksen collap­sed in the middle of the pitch, without any inter­fe­rence from the opposing team, and remained uncon­scious for several minutes. The team’s doctors immedia­tely rushed to his aid and Eriksen had to be resus­ci­ta­ted several times. It took some time before the footbal­ler was brought from the pitch into the hospi­tal.

Later, the Danish team’s head doctor explai­ned that Eriksen had very nearly died. Denmark’s captain, Simon Kjaer, also played a big part in saving Eriksen. After Eriksen’s collapse, the central defen­der was the first to grasp the situa­tion, sprin­ted from the midline to his side, put him in the recovery position, and ensured that he did not swallow his tongue. He then rallied the entire team to form a wall around him, shiel­ding him from view – an image which moved the football commu­nity.

However, it became even more apparent how important it is to be able to act quickly in emergen­cies. After all, more than 50,000 people suffer from cardiac arrest each year. All German citizens complete a basic first aid course in prepa­ra­tion for their driving test. However, much of this is quickly forgot­ten. This is why we have listed some important first aid measu­res here.

First aid: What should you do?

First of all, you must check whether the person is respon­sive and conscious, by speaking to them or gently nudging them.

If they do not react, you should call the emergency services (in Germany, you should call 112). Until help has arrived, the person’s head should be tilted back so that they can breathe freely. You should also check whether they are in fact breathing normally.

If so, they should be put in the recovery position and covered up. Headgear such as helmets must be removed before­hand.

If the person is uncon­scious, however, cardio­pul­mo­nary resus­ci­ta­tion (CPR) must be carried out. This consists of alter­na­ting between 30x chest compres­si­ons and 2x mouth-to-mouth resus­ci­ta­tion. It is often said that chest compres­si­ons should be carried out to the rhythm of ‘Stayin’ Alive’ by the Bee Gees. The parti­cu­lar beat of this song makes it a good way of remem­be­ring how to do chest compres­si­ons.

Important: If you do not have a phone on you, the German emergency services can be reached via the nearest public emergency telephone. Black arrows on the white reflec­tor posts along the motor­way will direct you to the nearest emergency telephone.

For more infor­ma­tion on first aid instruc­tions please visit the website of the German Red Cross.

First aid: Liabi­lity cases?

In 2019, Rechts­de­pe­sche had already repor­ted on who is liable for any injuries due to first aid measu­res. It is important to remem­ber that if a layper­son – somebody who is not a profes­sio­nal emergency respon­der – is performing first aid, they will only be liable for injuries in cases of gross or willful negli­gence.

If, however, the emergency respon­der has recei­ved profes­sio­nal training, then „slight” or „medium” negli­gence could already lead to damage claims in cases of injury.

First aid refres­her courses: When and where?

For your drivers licence, you only need to take the first aid course once. However, you should brush up on your first aid knowledge every two to three years. Business first-aiders are often requi­red to have proof of parti­ci­pa­tion in refres­her courses.

In Germany, the follo­wing organi­sa­ti­ons offer first aid courses:

  • Johan­ni­ter
  • The German Red Cross
  • ADAC
  • Malte­ser

Typically, the cost of a first aid course will be no higher than 40 Euros. First aid training includes nine teaching sessi­ons, each of which is 45 minutes long. It is there­fore possi­ble, in theory, to complete the entire course in one day. At the end of the course you will receive a certi­fi­cate of atten­dance; there is no final exam.

Resus­ci­ta­tion with defibril­la­tors

In the past, defibril­la­tors were only available in inten­sive care units (ICU). Now, they can be found in many public spaces which often contain large groups of people. These include train stati­ons, airports, football stadi­ums, outdoor swimming pools and much more.

In order to use it, one defibril­la­tor electrode must be placed below the collar­bone and another under the armpit, so that the machine can analyse the cardiac rhythm. Most defibril­la­tors will inform users through a voice message, flashing lights, or digital notifi­ca­ti­ons when it is time to press the button to carry out an electric shock. It is important to conti­nue to carry out chest compres­si­ons in between the shocks, and to not touch the person while giving them an electric shock.