Luton to review medical set-up after Tom Lockyer’s collapse during Premier League match against Bournemouth – with the defender in a stable condition after suffering a cardiac arrest
- Luton Town captain Tom Lockyer collapsed during a match in Bournemouth
- The defender suffered a cardiac arrest but is in a stable condition in hospital
- A review into the club’s medical protocol is now expected after the incident
A review into medical protocol is expected at Luton after captain Tom Lockyer collapsed on the pitch for the second time in seven months.
Lockyer, who suffered a heart issue during the Championship play-off final in May, was given the all-clear to return to football in June.
But Mail Sport understands that decision will now be reviewed once medical experts have further information on the cause of Saturday’s incident at the Vitality Stadium in Luton’s match against Bournemouth.
Lockyer, who has featured in 15 of his team’s 16 Premier League games this season, suffered a cardiac arrest in the 59th minute and, after a delay of around 10 minutes, the 29-year-old was said to be ‘alert’ and ‘responsive’ as he was carried off on a stretcher and taken to hospital.
The match was subsequently abandoned, with both sets of players ‘in no state of mind to continue’. Lockyer remained in hospital on Sunday in a stable condition, undergoing tests and scans.
A review into medical protocol is expected at Luton after captain Tom Lockyer collapsed
Luton boss Rob Edwards ushered the players off the pitch while Lockyer received treatment
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A source close to the player said: ‘This will be something we all look into more now. The physios, the club doctor, the specialists all did their work and worked with him in the summer and he was OK.
‘It’s just getting through this one test at a time. Comparing it to the summer will be something that happens when we know what went on on Saturday.’
The Premier League handbook states that players must undergo annual cardiac testing, with any further cardiac investigations or follow-ups performed as advised by expert opinion. It is unclear whether Lockyer underwent further testing since receiving heart surgery.
In June, Lockyer was treated by Professor Sanjay Sharma, the same doctor who treated Christian Eriksen after the Danish midfielder collapsed during a game in Copenhagen in June 2021.
Back then, Lockyer was diagnosed with an atrial fibrillation, a condition that causes an irregular and often fast heartbeat. He ended up watching Luton secure promotion to the Premier League from his hospital bed, surrounded by family.
Lockyer suffered a cardiac arrest in the 59th minute but is now in a stable condition in hospital
Once he was given the all-clear to play again, Lockyer’s contract with Luton was renewed, although the Welsh defender admitted the incident left him ‘really emotional’.
‘I had an atrial fibrillation, which is basically the top part of my heart was beating four times faster than it should have been,’ he said at the time. ‘There’s not really any reason to say why that happened but I’ve had the operation to fix it and it shouldn’t happen again.
‘I’ve been given the all-clear, it is what it is and I just want to draw a line under it now and move on.’
Eriksen, who returned to play for Denmark, Brentford and now Manchester United, was fitted with an implantable cardioverter defibrillator, which resets the heart after a cardiac arrest and that may be an option for Lockyer.
At the moment, though, the concern remains for his health and any further decision is not expected any time soon.
Both teams gathered around their technical areas to allow Lockyer to be treated on the pitch
After the match was officially suspended, the players emerged to applaud the entire crowd
Fabrice Muamba, who collapsed in 2012 playing for Bolton against Tottenham at White Hart Lane, tweeted on Saturday night: ‘Wishing you a speedy recovery, Tom Lockyer. It’s great to hear you are responsive and alert. Rest up and God willing you recover well. Thinking of you and your family today.’
Muamba’s heart stopped beating for 78 minutes and after recovering, the midfielder retired and became a broadcaster and coach. The 35-year-old currently has a coaching role in Bolton’s academy.
Luton issued a statement titled ‘a polite request’ as they asked for privacy and for media outlets to wait for any further updates via the club’s official channels.
‘We understand that supporters are concerned for him and that there is widespread media interest in his condition. Tom is still undergoing tests and scans and is awaiting the results before the next steps for his recovery are determined.
‘We are unable to provide a running commentary on his situation and request all media please wait for any updates to be released via the club’s official channels when the time is right.
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‘We all want the very best for Tom, his partner Taylor and the whole Lockyer family, and politely ask that his and their privacy is respected at this difficult time.’
The game between Bournemouth and Luton, which was level at 1-1, is expected to be replayed in its entirety, with Premier League Rule L15 stating that any match abandoned with the consent of the referee will be replayed, with a date to be arranged by the Premier League Board.
Referee Simon Hooper confirmed the contest was being abandoned shortly after the incident following talks with both clubs.
Bournemouth’s Philip Billing was the first to notice Lockyer’s plight and immediately waved for attention before paramedics and medical staff from both sides rushed to resuscitate him, while Luton manager Rob Edwards moved his players, who were visibly distressed, away from the scene.
Both sets of players agreed not to continue with the game and once it was officially called off, returned to the pitch to applaud supporters, who had stayed to chant Lockyer’s name.
Not the first time for Hatters hero
- In May, Lockyer collapsed at Wembley early in the Championship play-off final win against Coventry and was out cold for two minutes. He spent five days in hospital and had a minor operation to fix an atrial fibrillation – an irregular heartbeat.
- He returned to pre-season training and was given the all-clear following tests and scans on his heart – he later said he had been told the collapse had been because his heart beating too fast had caused a spike in his blood pressure.
- He has since played in all but one of Luton’s Premier League games this season and also played 90 minutes for Wales against Turkey last month.
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