Luton Star Who 'Died on the Pitch' Willing to Return to Football

Luton Town captain Tom Lockyer | Imago

Luton Star Who 'Died on the Pitch' Willing to Return to Football

Ayoola Kelechi 12:14 - 19.02.2024

Tom Lockyer suffered a cardiac arrest during Luton's Premier League tie against Bournemouth but is willing to return to the pitch

In an inspiring testament to resilience and courage, Luton Town captain Tom Lockyer has shared his harrowing experience of suffering a cardiac arrest during a Premier League match against Bournemouth on December 16. 

Despite the terrifying ordeal that led him to fear for his life on the pitch, Lockyer is not closing the door on his football career just yet.

A Frightening Ordeal

The 29-year-old Wales international vividly recounted the moments he "literally died" after collapsing in the 59th minute of the game, a scene all too reminiscent of a similar incident he experienced just seven months prior during the Championship playoff final at Wembley. "I woke up and the paramedics and everyone was everywhere," Lockyer told Sky Sports. "I remember thinking, 'I could be dying.'"

Tom Lockyer unconcious on the ground during Luton's match against Bournemouth | Imago
Tom Lockyer unconcious on the ground during Luton's match against Bournemouth | Imago

Lockyer's recount of the incident paints a picture of confusion and fear, underscored by the quick response of the medical team on site. His experience highlights the critical importance of immediate and proficient medical intervention in sports.

The Road to Recovery

Following the incident, a recording device previously inserted after his first collapse revealed that Lockyer was unconscious for two minutes and 40 seconds, requiring a defibrillator to revive him. Amidst this emotional turmoil, Lockyer faced additional personal stress, with his girlfriend being seven months pregnant at the time.

Despite the gravity of his situation, Lockyer's spirit remains unbroken. He acknowledges that his return to football is contingent on medical advice and further tests, yet he holds onto hope. "That will be dictated by medical staff and specialists, but what I would say is that if there is a chance -- obviously I won't do anything against specialist recommendations -- then I would love to," he expressed.

Learning from Others

Lockyer has sought advice from fellow players who have faced similar heart conditions and returned to the pitch, including Christian Eriksen, Daley Blind, and Charlie Wyke. The shared wisdom of taking time to process the event resonates with Lockyer, although he admits, "In some ways I don't think I have processed it."

The Luton captain's focus remains on his family, with the impending arrival of his baby being his priority. Yet, his story serves as a powerful reminder of the human spirit's capacity to face adversity, the importance of health and safety protocols in sports, and the profound impact of such experiences on athletes and their families.

As the football community watches Lockyer's journey, his resilience and hopeful outlook towards a possible return to the game he loves underscore the broader narrative of recovery and determination. Lockyer's ordeal and his unwavering spirit will undoubtedly inspire many, both on and off the pitch.

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