Tom Lockyer remained in hospital undergoing tests and scans on Sunday evening after his on-field collapse during Luton Town’s Premier League game against Bournemouth on Saturday.
The Luton captain suffered a cardiac arrest and fell to the ground in the 59th minute of the match at the Vitality Stadium. He was immediately tended to by paramedics and staff on the pitch. Lockyer was taken to hospital and was later described as “alert and responsive”. The match, initially suspended, was abandoned with the clock paused on 65 minutes.
Luton’s manager, Rob Edwards, had been among the first to sprint over to the stricken Lockyer and steer the two sets of shellshocked players away from the scene. On Sunday the club provided a further update on Lockyer, 29, which included a request for patience and understanding from fans and the media.
The club said: “While our captain Tom Lockyer remains in hospital following the cardiac arrest he suffered on the pitch at Bournemouth yesterday, 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 that all media please wait for any updates to be released via the club’s official channels when the time is right.
“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.”
It is understood the decision to abandon the game was undertaken by the match officials, led by the referee Simon Hooper, in conjunction with the players and the two managers, Andoni Iraola and Edwards.
It is expected the game will be rearranged and replayed in full, as Premier League rules suggest, with the league’s board considering that decision and an announcement to be made in due course. Premier League sources, when asked by the Guardian, could not comment on whether the correct medical protocols were followed on the day.
The league may also need to answer questions on future protocols for such incidents, particularly in the case of players who have, like Lockyer, experienced previous heart‑related problems on the pitch.
The Wales international, a former Bristol Rovers and Charlton player, collapsed during Luton’s promotion playoff final victory against Coventry at Wembley on 27 May this year. He spent five days in hospital and required surgery to treat an atrial fibrillation, a condition that causes an irregular and often abnormally fast heart rate. Lockyer returned for pre-season training at Luton after receiving the all-clear in June, but it remains to be seen whether he will be able to play again at the highest level.
On Sunday he received support from the Luton women’s team who, before their 1-0 FA Cup third‑round victory against Keynsham, posed for a picture with Lockyer’s No 4 shirt. “Everyone at Luton Town Ladies wishes him a speedy recovery,” they tweeted.
Luton fans also expressed gratitude to their counterparts at Bournemouth for their patience and understanding throughout the distressing ordeal at the Vitality Stadium. A flag with a Luton emblem was left on the gates of Bournemouth’s stadium on Sunday morning with a short message that read: “Thank you AFCB staff, fans [and] players.”
Phill Macbeath-Seath from the We Are Luton Town podcast recalled watching the incident from the away section at the stadium. “It felt like watching Christian Eriksen in that Denmark game, but live,” he said.
“It was just awful, I don’t really have the skill to fully describe the worry everyone was feeling.
Thank goodness common sense and human decency prevailed [and] the game was abandoned. It was a wonderful touch by the Bournemouth fans to join in singing with real vigour for Tom.
“It was a distressing, upsetting and awful situation, but also an example of thousands of people coming together to show their support to a fellow human being, and those affected by a tragic situation.”
Bournemouth fan Tyler Gregory was in the stand behind the goal and joined in as home fans chanted Lockyer’s name. He said: “It was very eerie after people soon realised what actually happened. It was only when players went to stand by the touchline and later left the pitch people realised it was a medical emergency. I think a lot of the crowd thought it was a head collision.”
For Gregory and other Bournemouth fans there was no ill-feeling or anger that the game was abandoned. “Absolutely not. The only important result that came out of yesterday was Tom’s health. As a Bournemouth fan it was really touching of our fans to chant his name and show great respect to Tom, his teammates and family.”
Olivia Martin is a dedicated sports journalist based in the UK. With a passion for various athletic disciplines, she covers everything from major league championships to local sports events, delivering up-to-the-minute updates and in-depth analysis.