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regular-article-logo Tuesday, 23 April 2024

160 seconds of nothingness: Luton captain Tom Lockyer opens up about harrowing heart attack on pitch

The 29-year-old defender collapsed in the 59th minute at the Vitality Stadium on December 16, resulting in the game being abandoned

AP/PTI Luton Published 20.02.24, 10:40 AM
Tom Lockyer (right) of Luton Town with clubmate Tim Krul prior to the Premier League match against Manchester United in Luton on Sunday.

Tom Lockyer (right) of Luton Town with clubmate Tim Krul prior to the Premier League match against Manchester United in Luton on Sunday. Getty Images

Luton captain Tom Lockyer says his heart stopped for more than two-and-a-half minutes when he suffered a cardiac arrest in a Premier League game at Bournemouth in December, but he is still hoping that doctors give him the all-clear to keep playing professionally.

The 29-year-old defender collapsed in the 59th minute at the Vitality Stadium on December 16, resulting in the game being abandoned. Lockyer was discharged from the hospital five days later following a successful procedure to fit an implantable cardioverter defibrillator.

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“Two minutes, 40 seconds I was out for,” Lockyer told Sky Sports in an interview. “I needed the defibrillator to shock me back. A massive thank you to the paramedics and club doctors involved, because without them I wouldn’t be here.”

Lockyer also collapsed during May’s Championship playoff final victory over Coventry at Wembley, leading him to undergo surgery to correct an atrial fibrillation.

He said he knew straight away that his collapse at Bournemouth was more serious. “I was running up to the halfway line and went really light-headed. I remember thinking I will be OK in a second and eventually I wasn’t,” he said.

“I woke up and the paramedics and everyone were everywhere. It happened in May as well, but I knew instantly this was different. Last time I woke up from almost a dream, this time I woke up from a nothingness.

"Straight away there was a little bit more panic from the paramedics, physios and club doctors. I was a little bit disorientated, couldn’t speak or move, I was just trying to work out what was happening.

“While that was going on I remember thinking I could be dying here and it’s quite a surreal thought thinking that and not being able to move and respond.”

Lockyer said he still needs to undergo more tests before doctors have a firm grasp about whether it’s safe for him to resume his playing career.

“We will be dictated to by the medical staff and specialists, but if there was a chance I could play again, and I’m not going to do anything against the specialists’ recommendations, then I would love to,” he said.

“It’s far too early to say, there are a lot more tests and things that need to happen in the background, but I wouldn’t write it off.”

Manchester United midfielder Christian Eriksen successfully resumed playing after being fitted with an ICD.

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