Stephen Kenny has revealed that Christian Eriksen’s brush with death brought back memories of his lucky escape in Sweden two years ago, with the Republic of Ireland manager speaking for the first time about how the quick reaction of FAI staff saved his life.
Kenny suffered a cardiac issue and collapsed in the airport ahead of a flight home following a victory for his Under-21 side in September 2019, and was reluctant to disclose details of the incident in the aftermath once he recovered.
But following the Eriksen incident, Kenny chose to detail his own experience in an emotional interview with Off The Ball.
He spoke of how his assistant Jim Crawford thought Kenny had died as support staff couldn’t get a pulse or heartbeat after his collapse in the terminal.
“Looking at Christian Eriksen’s situation, I got flashbacks and saw the impact it had on the people around me. It was very traumatic, very vivid. Luckily, I had people around me: staff, my colleagues and friends,” said Kenny, who subsequently underwent a successful operation to have a pacemaker fitted.
“Keith Andrews, Jim Crawford, Damien Doyle, Colm O’Neill (physio). They were all in the vicinity at the time and trying to address the situation. It was quite an ordeal.
“I wasn’t feeling well, and I just collapsed. I’ve been informed since that Damien Doyle [fitness coach] did CPR while the doctor got the defibrillator. The paramedics in the airport were on the scene very quickly.
“The players didn’t see it because they had gone through, but there was a big scene at the airport.
“Jim Crawford (now U-21 boss) said to me the following morning ‘I’m not going to lie to you Stephen, I thought you were dead, I thought you were gone.’”