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Tom Lockyer describes his terrifying near-death experience after cardiac arrest which stopped his heart for two minutes and 40 seconds… as Luton star calls life-saving device fitted in his chest ‘my new superpower’


Welsh footballer Tom Lockyer has described the terrifying moment he thought he was dying on the pitch after suffering a cardiac arrest in a Premier League game.

The Luton Town defender collapsed during a match at Bournemouth in December and was technically dead for two minutes and 40 seconds before his heart was restarted by paramedics.

Lockyer, 29, had an implantable cardioverter-defibrillator (ICD) fitted afterwards which will shock his heart back into action should it ever stop again.

His cardiac arrest at Bournemouth was Lockyer’s second heart issue in a matter of months after he suffered an atrial fibrillation (AF) in the Championship play-off final at Wembley last May.

Speaking on ITV‘s Good Morning Britain on Wednesday, Lockyer said: ‘Back in May at the Play-off final it was something different. Back then, it was AF, which is the top part of the heart and is not life-threatening.

Luton Town and Wales footballer Tom Lockyer, 29, has spoken about the terrifying moment he thought he was dying after suffering a cardiac arrest during a Premier League match

Luton Town and Wales footballer Tom Lockyer, 29, has spoken about the terrifying moment he thought he was dying after suffering a cardiac arrest during a Premier League match

Lockyer's heart stopped for two minutes and 40 seconds before paramedics restarted it

Lockyer’s heart stopped for two minutes and 40 seconds before paramedics restarted it

The Bournemouth scare was the second time Lockyer had collapsed in a matter of months

The Bournemouth scare was the second time Lockyer had collapsed in a matter of months 

‘Back then at Wembley, because it was the first time, nobody really knew what was going on. It was ‘oh is it his ankle, is it his knee, the heat?’ All these things.

‘This time everyone knew this is serious and the manager Rob Edwards, he came on within five seconds and that is unheard of. Everyone kind of knew this was serious this time.

‘There was no doubt this time and I kind of knew as well which is why when I started coming round and I couldn’t move or speak, the staff there on site were more in ‘go-mode’. They were focused and it was very serious.

‘That’s when I was like, ‘wow, I could be dying’. Obviously when you’re lying there and you can’t speak and can’t move, it’s not a nice feeling to have.

‘But when I could move and speak, I felt fine, which is the mad thing. I wasn’t sore, I wasn’t in any sort of pain. My heart got back into rhythm thanks to the incredible medical staff.

‘I’m so lucky it happened where it did because if it was to happen outside of hospital or a football pitch, the survival rate is only one in 10.’

Lockyer said he will put his family first when making a decision over whether to return to playing football. He is expecting his first child with partner Taylor.

Showing the scar left by his ICD, he added: ‘I call it my new little superpower really. After something like this happens and you make a recovery, you have it in there just in case.

Lockyer described the Lockyer implantable cardioverter-defibrillator (ICD) fitted in his chest as 'his new little superpower'

Lockyer described the Lockyer implantable cardioverter-defibrillator (ICD) fitted in his chest as ‘his new little superpower’ 

The device contains a wire that runs to his heart and is designed to shock the organ back into action

The Hatters captain bears scars from when the ICD was implanted

The device contains a wire that runs to his heart and is designed to shock the organ back into action 

‘To start with it is very sore and I still can’t sleep on my left side, but I never slept on my left side. It doesn’t affect my golf swing, I’m still rubbish at that.

‘I would just say: Picture yourself and one of your family members has a cardiac arrest and you don’t know what to do. It only takes 15 minutes to learn, it literally saves lives.

‘It allows me to be here for my daughter. The focus for myself is just for the baby and my girlfriend at the minute.’

Lockyer showed off the scar left by his device implant in a recent interview with Sky Sports. 

‘So that’s my battle wound,’ the defender said. 

Lockyer said he will put his family first as he considered whether to make a return to playing

Lockyer said he will put his family first as he considered whether to make a return to playing 

‘My defibrillator sits in there, as you can see there’s a wire that runs across and up to the heart in case it ever needs to go off. 

‘So that’s constantly monitoring my heart rate and if it goes outside certain parameters then it’s designed to give me a shock.  

‘That’s the wire – the battery lasts about 10 years so only needs changing every 10 years and hopefully I’m never going to need it but it’s there as a precaution.’

The device can be seen protruding beneath his left arm pit, with a scar marking the incision made to fit the device during surgery, with two other scars highlighting the shape of the device. 





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