Defibrillators save life and that's the bottom line Taylor
Anthony Taylor, who was the referee at the Euro 2020 match that saw Christian Eriksen suffer a cardiac arrest and collapse, stated that he knew right away that Eriksen was in serious condition.
Prince William was the first to offer congratulations on the manner in which the Premier League referee dealt with the frightening incident that occurred during the match against Finland in Group B.
Seven weeks after that fateful afternoon at Copenhagen, Taylor said that Eriksen's international captain Simon Kjaer, and the medical staff who performed CPR on the injured Inter Milan midfielder, saved his life.
Taylor spoke out about the traumatizing incident at Altrincham for BBC Sport. The National League team was one of the first to receive an automated external defibrillator. More than 2,000 are made available to grassroots clubs through Premier League's Defibrillator Fund.
Taylor is acutely aware of the importance of equipment.
The 42-year old was also the referee in November 2018, when Eddie Wolstenholme, referees' assessmentor, collapsed in front of a Premier League match between Burnley and Newcastle at Turf Moor. Taylor had previously worked in prison where he dealt with several heart-related issues.
Since then Eriksen was fitted with a heart-starting device. He is currently in recovery and he reportedly traveled to Italy this week for talks with Inter about his future.
Did Christian Eriksen have a serious problem that you didn't know about immediately?
Anthony Taylor: "I knew right away. Christian was completely on his own. He was alone except for a ball that bounced off his knee. He fell over and I was looking directly at him. As he fell, I could clearly see his face. Because of the way his face and fall to the ground looked, I knew something was amiss. This is what most concerned me.
What did you do?
"The safety of my players is my main priority. This means that a player who is hurt or unwell should seek medical attention. That was all I did. I called the doctor to get on the field. I didn't notice anything else until the next day, when I was returning to Istanbul [the base of match officials]. The true heroes of that night were the Danish captain, and the medical personnel who performed initial CPR/defibrillation.
Are you at this stage on autopilot?
"In the moment it happens, the only focus is to make sure Christian gets the treatment he required. Because of the prompt reaction of his captain and the medics, he clearly received the treatment he needed. This is the bottom line. At that time, the football was irrelevant. We are dealing with people at the end of it all.
"Everyone is still coming to see me as match referee in the aftermath of getting the teams to Christian. What do we do next? Is it still going on? Is it? What can we do? What should we do? This is what I do in collaboration with the Uefa delegate. Even though that was a very unfortunate incident, there were still many things I could do to manage the emotions of everyone.
"The most important thing was Christian was okay and received the help he required. We had to ensure that both sets of players were okay, and I had to ensure that the rest of my team was OK.
What was the last time you spoke to your refereeing group?
"I'd experienced it before at a Premier League match, but also during my previous work in prison services. While I needed to think about my four officials and my assistants, at the time we were taking the players inside, it was clear that I wasn't with them. They are in our changing area. I am with the match delegate, and representatives from the teams in another room.
"We had decided that the game would be suspended until we discovered how Christian was. This was the most important piece of information that we needed before we could make any decision about the game's continuation. My team was not able to reach me until I returned to my changing room a while later. I wanted to check in on them and see if they had any questions.
How about your family?
"I only spoke to my wife after the match was over, two to three hours later. We had returned to the hotel. There was so much happening. One of my teams had sent messages to our families letting them know that we were all okay and that we were just dealing with the situation as everyone could see.
Are you still in touch with Eriksen?
"I have not spoken with him personally. In the days following the incident, I sent him an email. Before we left the stadium, I spoke to Kasper Schmeichel (Denmark goalkeeper). Christian had spoken to Christian via FaceTime, I believe it was from the hospital. Kasper visited me and we had a short discussion about Christian's health.
Is it because of such incidents that defibrillators have become so vital?