Can he become the next Christian Eriksen (31, Manchester United)? Luton Town captain Tom Lockyer, 29, is recovering after collapsing with heart problems during another game.
Lockyer started Luton’s 2023-2024 Premier League Round 17 match against Bournemouth at the Vitality Stadium in England on Sunday.
In the 13th minute of the second half, with both teams tied 1-1. The game came to an abrupt halt when Lockyer went down. He suddenly went down near the halfway line without any apparent collision and was unable to get up. The referee quickly checked and blew his whistle, and the medical team rushed over.
Lockyer was taken off the field on a stretcher with oxygen, and the game was completely stopped after about 30 minutes. Luton fans sang chants in support of Lockyer, while Bournemouth fans applauded in encouragement. Luton manager Rob Edwards was applauded as he walked around the pitch with red eyes. He thanked the crowd for their concern.
Fortunately, Lockyer quickly regained consciousness. Luton said on social media, “Our captain suffered a cardiac arrest on the pitch but was found to be physically responsive when he was stretchered off. He received further treatment on the pitch before being taken to hospital. He is stable and is now with his family and awaiting further tests.”
This isn’t the first time Lockyer has collapsed on the pitch with a heart problem. In May, he was knocked unconscious with an arrhythmia during the English Championship (Second Division) playoff final against Coventry.
Lockyer, who was also a starter at the time, collapsed to the ground eight minutes into the game and needed medical attention. He recovered quickly but was rushed to the hospital, where he watched his teammates’ dramatic penalty shootout victory from his bed. Doctors diagnosed him with atrial fibrillation, a type of heart arrhythmia.
About a month later, Lockyer said he didn’t remember hitting the ground, “I was fine as soon as I came back. I didn’t really feel the danger, and it wasn’t as bad as it looked.” “I had surgery, and it shouldn’t happen again. I’m done with it. Now I just want to move on.”
However, about seven months later, Lockyer collapsed again, this time with a heart problem. “He will undergo further tests over the next few days,” The Athletic reported, “but true relief will have to wait until he receives a full medical certificate.”
“We have to seriously consider whether he will be able to continue his career. It could be life-threatening.
“Heart problems are not uncommon in sports,” says The Athletic. According to a study in the British Journal of Sports Medicine, athletes are more than twice as likely to experience an irregular heartbeat as the general population.” “Nevertheless, given past cases, the sight of a soccer player collapsing during a game will always raise alarm bells.
In fact, there have been cases of death from heart problems. In 2003, Cameroon international Marck Vivien Foye died of cardiac arrest during a match, and in 2017, Newcastle’s Sheikh Tiote died suddenly during training. Patrice Muamba, who played for Bolton, and Shin Young-rok, who played for Suwon Samsung and Jeju United, also had to retire after suffering a cardiac arrest during a game.
Of course, there is one player who has returned to the pitch after overcoming heart problems. That would be Eriksen. The Denmark international midfielder collapsed during a match against Finland at Euro 2020. Luckily, he came back with a defibrillator and made an inspiring comeback, and is still playing for United.
However, Lockyer has already suffered heart problems twice, so it’s unclear if he can pull off a miraculous comeback like Eriksen’s. “It’s too early to draw any concrete conclusions about the cardiac arrest, let alone any links to what happened in May,” says The Athletic, “but it’s natural to think about Lockyer’s career now. He’s doing a great job in the Premier League, but that’s secondary. His health is the most important thing. Further medical assessments will provide guidance.”