Tom Lockyer the latest in a worrying trend of athletes suffering cardiac-related illness

Luton Town captain in a stable condition in hospital after collapsing on pitch against Bournemouth

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Luton captain Tom Lockyer suffered a cardiac arrest that forced the abandonment of his team's Premier League match at Bournemouth on Saturday.

Luton's game on England's south coast was halted midway through the second half with the score at 1-1 as defender Lockyer received medical treatment before he was carried off to applause.

The Premier League confirmed the match had been abandoned and Luton later said the Wales international was in a stable condition in hospital.

"Our medical staff have confirmed that the Hatters captain suffered a cardiac arrest on the pitch, but was responsive by the time he was taken off on the stretcher," the club said in a statement.

"He received further treatment inside the stadium, for which we once again thank the medical teams from both sides. Tom was transferred to hospital, where we can reassure supporters that he is stable and currently undergoing further tests, with his family at his bedside."

Lockyer, 29, had heart surgery after collapsing during Luton's Championship play-off final win against Coventry in late May.

He returned to action for the start of the new season and had made 15 appearances so far in all competitions before Saturday's match.

A young and otherwise fit athlete suffering cardiac-related illness is rare but by no means new phenomena.

Denmark midfielder Christian Eriksen was given life-saving cardiac massage treatment on the pitch during a Euro 2020 match against Finland.

The sight of the playmaker falling to the ground in the 42nd minute of the match shocked onlookers and left players on both sides distressed.

Eriksen was fitted with an implantable cardioverter defibrillator (ICD) and to the delight of the football world made a full recovery, returning to action six months later when he signed for Brentford on transfer deadline day in January 2021 before earning a move to Premier League giants Manchester United that summer.

Danish footballer Christian Eriksen collapses on the pitch during Euro 2020

Danish footballer Christian Eriksen collapses on the pitch during Euro 2020

Former Spain and Real Madrid captain Iker Casillas was rushed to hospital in April 2019 after suffering an "acute myocardial infarction" while training with Portuguese club Porto.

The goalkeeper made a full recovery but never played again before officially hanging up his boots in August 2020.

Heart problems in footballers disproportionately affect African players, studies show.

Burundi international Papy Faty died after collapsing during an eSwatini – formerly Swaziland – league match in 2019 while former Manchester City midfielder Marc-Vivien Foe lost his life after suffering heart problems during a 2003 Confederations Cup match on international duty with Cameroon.

Cardiac-related illness is a worrying trend across sports in recent times.

Bronny James, the eldest son of NBA superstar LeBron James, suffered a cardiac arrest during practice with his college basketball team in July 2023.

The 18-year-old collapsed on court while training with his University of Southern California teammates in Los Angeles. He was taken to hospital for treatment and spent a short time in intensive care.

On Sunday, he passed a major hurdle in his comeback, making his debut in an 84-79 upset loss in overtime to Long Beach State, ESPN reported.

James' scare came a year after USC centre Vince Iwuchukwu collapsed during practice after suffering heart failure. Iwuchukwu was revived by team's medical staff and played last season after recovering.

It was also reminiscent of an incident in January, when Buffalo Bills safety Damar Hamlin collapsed from a cardiac arrest during an NFL game in Cincinnati.

Hamlin received life-saving CPR on the field as the frightening scene unfolded in front of a packed stadium and national television audience. He made his NFL comeback in October against the Miami Dolphins.

Updated: December 17, 2023, 6:12 AM