Sweden Kristoffer Olsson is thinking about playing again after brain illness. GETTY IMAGES

"I will play again," said the footballer, who was hospitalised in February after an illness that left him unable to move or speak. He lost consciousness at home. He needed a respirator to help him breathe. "I am getting better," said Olsson, who is now training with a view to returning to action.

It has been almost four months since Sweden international Kristoffer Olsson was hospitalised in February with a rare brain disease. It left him without motor or verbal skills. On Monday, the footballer said: "I am recovering well and will be playing football again.

This is phenomenal news considering the initial prognosis was very grim. The 28-year-old midfielder, who plays for Danish Super League side FC Midtjylland, lost consciousness at home on 20 February. He was rushed to Aarhus University Hospital, where he was placed on a ventilator to help him breathe.

Tests revealed that he had suffered several small blood clots in his brain as a result of a rare inflammation of the blood vessels in the brain. "I was basically dying," he told Swedish daily Aftonbladet in the first three weeks after the collapse, AFP reported. His recovery progressed and he was transferred to a rehabilitation centre in mid-March to help him regain his motor and verbal skills.

Kristoffer Olsson has no recollection of the scare or what happened afterwards. "I was not contactable. I have no memories of that time," he said. "I got through the worst of it. I've had to think, be positive and be patient with everything," he said.

He was taken off the ventilator on 18 March and faces a long recovery process, which he is trying to shorten as much as possible. Olsson, who is still undergoing rehabilitation, said: "I want to play professionally again. "I feel great. I'll be able to play football again," he said. He added that it was still early days and that steps would be taken as they came.

He said, "Of course you want to be back as soon as possible. But I'm not stressing about it. It has to take time," he said. "We'll see when it happens." Olsson was in the stands on Sunday when FC Midtjylland won the Danish championship. He applauded with the fans and also received an ovation from the stadium.

"I can move well, I can run and my memory is good. I'm getting better every day. I've had tubes and things all the time, but now I just have this little thing that helps me pee. That's all that's left," he concluded.

Originally from Norrköping on Sweden's east coast, Olsson made his senior debut for Arsenal in 2013. Since then, he has had spells with Danish side Midtjylland, Swedish side AIK, Krasnodar and Anderlecht before rejoining Midtjylland permanently last summer following a loan spell.

The midfielder was part of the generation that won the 2015 European Under-21 Championship. He has 47 caps for Sweden at senior level. The football world was shocked when Olsson was admitted to hospital in February. It wasn't the first time Nordic football had been hit by similar news. When Denmark captain Christian Eriksen collapsed during a Euro 2020 match against Finland, it's hard to forget. Doctors confirmed that he had suffered a minor heart attack, but fortunately it was only a scare. 

Midtjylland released a statement asking for understanding. "Everyone at FC Midtjylland is deeply affected by Kristoffer's sudden illness. Our thoughts and support are with him and his family," the statement read. Now it seems the news is much more positive.