imo Innanen, 39, reports in a live TV broadcast about football star Christian Eriksen stepping onto the field. A couple of weeks later, he himself was diagnosed with a heart defect.
The date June 12, 2021 has been permanently etched in the minds of many who follow sports. The Finnish men’s national football team played the first match in its history at the European Championships. Finland unexpectedly won against Denmark, but the day was also memorable for completely different reasons.
In the final moments of the opening period, Denmark’s star player Christian Eriksen fell to the surface of the grass. The match was stopped, and the 25,000 spectators who arrived at Parken watched the events in shock. The game instantly shifted to the sidelines: Eriksen was fighting for his life. His heart had stopped. He later said he had been dead for five minutes.
At that time , MTV Urheilu’s reporter Timo Innanen found himself in an extremely challenging position. Innanen reports from the spot for Tulosruotu’s live broadcast.
– I commented on the shocking situation from the stadium, but there was no accurate information about the final result at that time. Of course, Eriksen had already informed his teammates that he was mostly fine, Innanen says.
The brutality of life showed itself to the 39-year-old from Vantaa in a gruesome way. Innanen heard from the doctor about his own heart defect after returning from a work assignment. The heart murmur heard in connection with the chest pains was found to be a structural heart defect.
– It was quite a shock. After a year of follow-up, I was put on the waiting list for surgery. After that, there was a demanding open-heart surgery.
Originally from Tampere, Innanen is a soccer player by background, who went through the Ilves junior mill. During his time in the army, he represented the neighboring club Tampere Pallo-Veikko, where he made his debut in the representative team.
Innanen admits that ending his active career in his twenties was a hasty decision. Since there was no clear career prospect in the sport, Tampere’s nightlife became even more familiar.
– There was too much partying. I had some kind of identity crisis when my playing career and my relationship ended at the same time. My face was tense, I behaved badly and I still regret it. I wasn’t my good-natured self at all. The parties involved have been apologized to and fortunately things have been resolved. A few years went by without a doubt, he admits.
Innanen found the sports journalist’s studies a suitable seam.
– In my working career, I have been able to combine my two great passions: sports and journalism. I am grateful that I found a new passion for my life in sports journalism.
Innanen, who enjoys investigative journalism the most in her work, is known for her meritorious news work, among other things. More than five years ago, he highlighted cases of sexual harassment that rocked Finnish women’s team sports. They launched an investigation by the Finnish Sports Ethics Center into harassment in the national football and ice hockey teams.
In addition, Innanen has revealed football-related result manipulation and doping cases.
Moving into the creative field was no accident. Innanen’s late grandfather was a nationally famous musician and painter Martti “Huuhaa” Innanen, who gained fame in Europe with his works .
Innanen’s uncle Mikko Innanen is a long-time sports commentator and father Jukka is a respected former floor band referee.
– My distant grandfather was a great artist, but not the easiest person for Takuu. My uncle took me to sporting events when I was little. I got to follow his work and get to know an interesting field, says Innanen.
Innanen has recovered from the open heart surgery performed in Meilahti in May. During the operation, the sternum was opened, and the heart was stopped for two and a half hours. The operation went well, but Innanen got blood poisoning as a secondary complication and was rushed to the intensive care unit. However, the life-threatening situation was managed.
– It could have been the worst possible option, but many thanks to the competent staff. I have also been frustrated at times, but I believe that the results of my heart operation will bear fruit in the future, Innanen says.
Recovery has taken its time. In October, Innanen returned to working life after a five-month break. The sports journalist, who turns 40 next year, says that adversity has strengthened him as a person. Now he has been able to return to his beloved hobbies, tennis and swimming.
Around Christmas, Innanen visits Ruovede at his mother’s grave. Six years ago, her mother’s heart suddenly stopped just before Christmas. The passing of a loved one was naturally an extremely hard place.
– Mother was the most important person in my life. He taught the importance of hard work by his example and put up with his prodigal son’s ramblings. Missing is still strong, says Innanen.
Timo Innanen, 39
Graduated from Haaga-Helia University of Applied Sciences’ sports journalism studies in 2010. The teacher was, among others, the legend of commentator Antero Mertaranta.
Worked at Urheilulehti during his studies. Moved at the end of 2014 to the current employer MTV Urheilu.
Awarded Sports Journalist of the Year in 2018. In the same year, he received the Koura special award. Last year, he received the titles of Football Journalist and Tennis Journalist of the Year.