Luton’s Tom Lockyer talks about is collapse at in the playoff final and provides an update on how he is getting on a week after it took place.
The 28 year old Hatters captain Tom Lockyer has revealed the cause of his fall to ground, but also and more thankfully got the all-clear to return to playing.
It’s now ten days on from his Wembley collapse during the Championship playoff final against Coventry City, which his side went on to win 6-5 through penalties.
He went down untouched while backpedaling early in the game and then passed out as he attempted to get himself back up before being taken off and treated, then taken to hospital.
In his first interview with Sky Sports since, Lockyer revealed the cause of his collapse and the events that played out up until now.
“I felt like I’d let the boys down, I couldn’t stop crying”
Tom Lockyer talks through his collapse in the Championship play-off final pic.twitter.com/WYgI0aojPE
— Sky Sports Football (@SkyFootball) June 6, 2023
He said: “I’m doing well. It’s been a mad week or so. I had the all-clear yesterday [Monday] and I’m all good moving forward.
“I was quite lucky. They knew straight away what it was and it wasn’t life-threatening. It was an atrial flutter, which is an irregular heartbeat, so my heart wasn’t responding as it should in those situations.
“It’s probably the least severe heart condition you could have and I had a little procedure on Wednesday [May 31] to correct that and it should never happen again.
“It’s quite funny, really – I didn’t feel anything at all. I had a great chance with the header and got a little bit excited from that, thinking I’d scored at Wembley!
“Then I was just running backwards, went really light-headed and my legs went really weak straightaway. I remember stumbling backwards.
“I was told I was coming off as I’d collapsed and I was like ‘no, no I’m fine!’ I wondered why I was on the floor, so that’s when I realised and the emotions all went. When I went off on the stretcher, Rob [Edwards] came to me and said ‘don’t worry, we’ll win it for you’ and I was bawling my eyes out so couldn’t respond.
“The club secretary came down with my phone and I started watching the game on SkyGo!
“I was thinking ‘this is no good for my heart!’ I watched the full game back afterwards and we were unbelievable in the first half, Coventry came in the second and it was a bit of a nothing extra time before 11 unbelievable penalties.
“If you score five penalties in a shootout you expect to win it, so for both teams to score five was amazing. When that last one got missed, it was sheer delight.
“My old man took a photo, posted it and it went viral. Once my family saw I was fine and cracking jokes and whatnot, that put them at ease and, if anyone had concerns, hopefully that put it to rest.
“I didn’t realise, but when he [Carlton Morris] was ringing me, they didn’t really know what had gone on or why I’d gone off.
“It was probably for the best they didn’t know exactly what had happened because I want them to concentrate on the game, but Carlton was overly concerned.
“It was nice to tell him I was fine and that he could go and enjoy the celebrations. I didn’t want him worrying about me, I just wanted him to enjoy it because it’s not every day you get promoted to the Premier League. The last thing I wanted was for the boys to not enjoy that moment.
“Everyone at the club has been amazing. The manager has built a family-first ethos and you can see that. Luton Town is a family now.
“It was a long five days in hospital and it would have felt like even longer if we didn’t win, of course.
“When you’ve got that time in the hospital bed on your own, you’re thinking ‘Will I be able to play again? Will I be able to be the same player? I’m out of contract in the summer, will I be able to get a new contract?’ All these sorts of things run through your head.
“Initially, once they said it was going to be OK, there was some doubt, but I’ve had some follow-up tests and I’ve had the all-clear now, so I move onto a monitoring phase and they are going to watch me a little bit closer than they would normally.
“I can’t thank Sanjay Sharma – the head cardiologist at the FA – enough. He looked after my case and was amazing throughout and has reassured me that my dream is still alive to carry on playing football because once I realised it wasn’t life threatening, that’s what it turned to: will I play football again?
“That’s all that mattered to me and you can see from my smile that I’m delighted.
“For me, it hasn’t sunk in yet what the lads have achieved. We had the dream to get promoted and it still doesn’t feel real. It’s amazing we have been able to do that and when it sinks in, maybe there will be a few more tears.
“I can’t sit here and lie – it was hard to watch (the celebrations). To go through the gruelling season we’d just had to then miss out on the one big game and the celebrations at the end. “It was hard, it is hard, but you have to look at it from a health point of view. I would have missed a lot more to get that all-clear news.
“Looking back now, I know I didn’t, but I felt like I’d let the team down, let the boys down, so I couldn’t stop crying coming off that pitch, but I think it was a lot worse for everyone else watching. I’ve watched it back and it’s not a nice watch for myself.
“To be honest, I felt as though I could have walked off the pitch, but the medics did their jobs and I can’t thank them enough.”
Lockyer also spoke to lutontown.co.uk: “I had an atrial fibrillation, which is basically the top part of my heart was beating four times faster than it should have been. There’s not really any reason to say why that happened, but I’ve had the operation to fix it and it shouldn’t happen again.
“I’ve been given the all clear, it is what it is and I just want to draw a line under it now and move on.”
Before he goes on holiday with his partner, he added: “The doctor’s orders now are two weeks’ rest without raising the heart rate, then I’m good to go, so it’s going to be a two-week holiday somewhere just chilling out, eating some good food and just taking everything in, because for me it hasn’t really sunk in what we’ve achieved, because I wasn’t there and I didn’t make the Vegas trip with all the lads.
“So now we can get away and hopefully it sinks in when we’re away. That’ll be really nice.”
“It was a day of mixed emotions,” he said recalling the incident. “It was crazy. All week I’d been visualising walking up those steps to that trophy and to end it in a hospital bed is not quite what I had in mind, but I was immensely proud to lead the lads out at Wembley – more so than I am normally because of the occasion and it was a massive honour for me and my family. That’s probably my only pic of the day, leading the lads out!
“I’m just really thankful that the lads were able to get the job done and we were able to complete our goal of getting promoted. It made those five days in hospital after a lot easier. I think if we had lost, those five days would have been horrendous, but they made it a lot smoother for me.
It was a weird one. I remember running backwards, and then I went really light-headed and my legs went really weak straightaway, as I was running back. I remember stumbling back and then all I remember was (physio) Chris Phillips over the top of me, and he was saying ‘Locks, you’re coming off’.
“I was like ‘No mate, no mate, I’m fine’, but he was saying ‘No, it’s serious Locks, you’ve collapsed. You’re coming off’. Then it dawned on me that I was on the floor and this is actually serious. It was then that, because I felt fine as soon as I woke up, I instantly just went ‘Oh no, this is the end of my game’ and had the feeling of letting the boys down. I just got really emotional. I couldn’t stop crying on the floor.
“They were doing whatever they were doing – and to be honest, even then at the time I felt that I could have got up and walked off, but the medics have to do their job and a massive shout out to them. They were, and have been fantastic. I can’t thank them all enough for what they did for me.
“It was probably a lot worse for everyone else watching than it was for me because as soon as I came back round I was fine. I never really felt in any danger, and it definitely wasn’t as bad as it looked.
“I was in the medical room at Wembley, under the stadium, and I couldn’t stop crying in there but it was funny, because it was like a communal room and they kept wheeling in drunk fans next to me!
“We were in there and didn’t hear a cheer or anything, then all I heard was someone shout, ‘Tell him we’re 1-0 up, Jordan Clark!’ So then I was over the moon with that, and couldn’t stop celebrating and smiling.
“Then (secretary) Chris Clark came down then and got my phone for me, so I started watching it on Sky Go and carried on in the ambulance. We got to the hospital for extra-time, and my old man decided for those penalties then to take the photo of the winning penalty and post it out to let everyone know I was all right, so that’s a nice moment we’ve got all together now, that photo.
“We were watching the interview with Rob at the time, and it made my mum cry saying what a lovely bloke he is. I just said to her ‘Yes, he is amazing, he’s been amazing and you can see what a genuine person he is as well.’ He’s not just an unbelievable manager, but you can tell the ethos he has about family first always, and we have created a family. Luton Town is a family now. It was amazing to see.”
🗣 “Reading all the lovely messages on social media kept me going in hospital, so thank you to everyone, it’s been amazing”
Tom Lockyer spoke for the first time since being released from hospital. 👊#COYH
— Luton Town FC (@LutonTown) June 6, 2023
This is what social media users had to say as Luton’s Tom Lockyer talks about his collapse, what he went through and provides an update…
@TheBondurants: What a player he has been looking from the outside for Luton this year! Great to see he is up and well! 👏
@paul9565: Hopefully back with Cymru 🏴 soon ⚽️
@cclarke100: What a man, our leader … rest up, enjoy time with your family .. ! 🧡🎩🧡
@callumLtfc: he needs to lift the trophy in the first game at home 🧡🥺
@BeermattMatt: Good news Locks is on the mend. Can’t wait to get him in that @FAWales team 💪
@MKT1882: Great news that he’s ok. He had a terrific season and I wish him luck in the pl next season (except against the mighty Clarets!) 😉👍
@___GJS___: Yup, tears again, this time though through relief Locks is OK. Not sure the playoff emotions are ever going to go! #LTFC #PremierLeague
@darrinclarke: Great news – and congratulations Tom. Premier League!
@Lisamfb: So pleased he is on the mend. May he enjoy his well deserved holiday and come back and sign a new contract.🤞🤞
@johnallen2411: Great Locks is ok. So sad he missed lifting trophy, celebrations and VEGAS. Glad his heart is ok + ready to go. He is the Beating Heart of the side. It was like the air was sucked out of the Stadium when he went down but the Lads showed the Character we all know they have 🧡
@djballltfc75: Just one day without tears would be nice @LutonTown gone again 🥲🥰
@uptheluton: We love you Lockyer 🧡
@crapbearddad: This is amazing to hear from Locks. So happy he’s on the mend and hopefully two weeks of relaxing for our skipper. 🧡
Pleased to set up this interview with Tom Lockyer after everything he’s been through.
Of all the ways he thought the day would go, I’m sure watching penalties on a hospital bed wasn’t one of them.
But now, he can walk tall as captain of a #PL club.
Phenomenal. #LTFC https://t.co/pgKlpUSlzl
— Matt Foster (@mat_fos_) June 6, 2023
Awesome spending time with Tom this morning. Told me he cried more in the space of 48 hours than he has in his entire life, but his dream of playing football is still alive and well 🧡🧡🧡 https://t.co/iX6yCh6gJw
— Jamie Weir (@jamiecweir) June 6, 2023
#Lutons #Tom #Lockyer #talks #collapse #update