Tom Lockyer returns to Luton Town after cardiac arrest

Tom Lockyer on the pitch at Kenilworth Road
Tom Lockyer was greeted by fans before Luton's match against Brighton

Luton Town captain Tom Lockyer has returned to Kenilworth Road for the first time since he collapsed in December with a cardiac arrest.

Lockyer, 29, spent five days in hospital following his on-pitch collapse at Bournemouth on 16 December.

He returned to watch his team-mates host Brighton in the Premier League.

Hatters' chief executive Gary Sweet said he "genuinely thought we'd lost" Lockyer on the day of the midfielder's collapse.

Tom Lockyer on the pitch at Kenilworth Road
Fans cheered and clapped as Lockyer made his way on to the Kenilworth Road pitch

Lockyer returned to the club's Brache HQ on Monday, in a visit that brought "a tear to everybody's eye", Sweet said.

"He's such a solid, sound, brilliant man; so humble and everybody cares so much about him," he said.

"We're not thinking about him and football, we're thinking about him and his health and his family."

Gary Sweet
Gary Sweet said he was "proud" of everyone at the club who had "pulled together" after Lockyer's cardiac arrest

Recalling Lockyer's collapse, Sweet said it was "one of the most difficult days of my life".

He said: "When I dashed down from the directors' box to the tunnel, I actually genuinely thought we'd lost him... but thanks to the miracle work of our own medical team - doctor, physios - they had to follow a process and if it wasn't perfect we would have lost him, and they were perfect."

He praised the work of Bournemouth's medical team and paramedics, adding: "To get him back around within the three minutes was astonishing."

"He was lucky to have the best people around him to bring him back. It was a horrific week following that."

He said it "pulled" the club together and brought "us a bit closer together".

A banner for Tom Lockyer at Kenilworth Road
Fans unfurled a banner to mark Lockyer's return

Sweet said Lockyer was now in "good shape".

Lockyer previously collapsed in the Championship play-off final in May when he suffered atrial fibrillation, a condition the NHS describes as causing "an irregular and often abnormally fast heart rate".

The Welsh international was given the all-clear to return to playing in June following heart surgery, but suffered a cardiac arrest and collapsed in the 59th minute of the Bournemouth game.

Both sets of players were taken off the pitch as he received medical treatment, later having an Implantable Cardioverter Defibrillator (ICD) device fitted.

The game at Vitality Stadium was eventually abandoned with the score at 1-1 and will be replayed in full at a later date.

Rob Edwards, the club's manager, said no timescale had been placed on Lockyer's potential return to action.

Tom Lockyer on the pitch at Kenilworth Road
Lockyer soaked up the pre-match atmosphere on the pitch

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