Christian Eriksen
Danish footballers watch on as teammate Christian Eriksen is treated following a mid-game collapse. Image by EPA PHOTO

Claims COVID vaccines are behind on-air collapses fall flat

David Williams January 17, 2024

A video features several clips of athletes and TV presenters collapsing - and in some cases dying - as a result of COVID vaccination.


False. The incidents are unrelated to the COVID vaccine.

A video montage showing athletes and television presenters collapsing is being presented as evidence that young people are dying due to the effects of COVID-19 vaccines. 

The claim is false. The montage features televised incidents of sportspeople and reporters collapsing in circumstances unrelated to COVID vaccines. One case presented is from 2017, three years before the pandemic.

The one-minute montage features in this Facebook post (archived here). The post text says: “It all started in 2021 and we simply want to know, what happened? What is causing these excess deaths?” 

Voiceovers throughout the video refer to “sudden adult death syndrome”, “healthy young people … dying” and “unexplained deaths”, however none of the footage is of people dying.

The video also cuts to headlines from UK-based misinformation website The Expose (15secs and 22secs). The headlines refer to previously debunked figures on supposed athlete deaths following vaccination.

The montage can be traced back to a longer video on YouTube by comedian-turned-commentator Russell Brand, titled “Is this why young people are collapsing?”

Football player
 Footage of sportspeople collapsing on-field is being misrepresented as related to COVID vaccines. 

Brand links the incidents to COVID vaccines before introducing the montage as “people dropping dead on sports fields” (5min 15secs).

The first clip is of England footballer Rachel Daly collapsing from heat exhaustion in a game in 2017, three years before the pandemic.

The montage also features Danish footballer Christian Eriksen (5min 34sec Brand’s video), who suffered a cardiac arrest during an international match in 2021.

At the time he was unvaccinated, according to his club’s medical staff. He certainly didn’t “drop dead” as is claimed and now plays for Manchester United.

Adama Traore, who is shown falling to the floor at 5min 22sec also went on to make a full recovery and now plays in the Hungarian league.

At 5min 23sec is footage of then-19-year-old British tennis player Jack Draper collapsing in hot conditions at the Miami Open in March 2021. 

The same clip is embedded in this online report. The collapse was explained as a heat-related illness

Melbourne AFL player Jake Lever is shown fainting during training in 2021 (5min 26sec). Lever himself explained he had pushed himself too far: “I ran a PB (personal best) for both my first few times so maybe I went a little too hard”. 

Jake Lever
 Footage of Melbourne AFL player Jake Lever fainting after a hard training session was also included. 

At 5min 46sec is footage of critical care nurse Tiffany Dover collapsing during a media conference after receiving the vaccine in 2020. Conspiracy theorists at the time claimed Dover was dead but, very much alive, she subsequently explained she had a pain response that made her pass out.

German TV morning show host Clara Pfeffer is seen fainting on air at 5min 48sec. Claims the collapse was caused by the vaccine were debunked here and Pfeffer said in a tweet (in German) that in future she would have a good breakfast before work. 

At 5min 49sec Israeli reporter Doron Herman is shown collapsing on camera. The incident happened in August 2020 – before the first vaccines were rolled out. He later explained the collapse was caused by heat exhaustion

Motorcycle racing champion Pedro Acosta is shown collapsing at a function (5min 51sec). 

Acosta explained later that he had suffered a fever before the event and was stressed by the number of media at the function, causing a dizzy spell. 

At 5min 53sec Brazilian journalist Rafael Silva is seen collapsing. Silva subsequently explained his on-air incident was caused by a congenital heart problem.

The montage also features former Western Australian premier Mark McGowan (5min 56 secs) speaking at a 2021 press conference.

While it is made to appear as if he is talking about a delayed response to COVID vaccines, the full video of the press conference reveals he is talking about a delayed reaction to the COVID infection. 

A similar claim has been debunked here

The Verdict

The claim that a video features several clips of athletes and TV presenters collapsing – and in some cases dying – as a result of COVID vaccination is false.

The causes of the incidents are unrelated to the COVID vaccine. At least one clip predates the pandemic and others featured were unvaccinated at the time.

False — The claim is inaccurate.

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