Tom Lockyer has revealed where his implanted cardiac device (ICD) was placed in his chest following his collapse on the field after going into cardiac arrest mid-game earlier this season.
The Hatters’ match against Bournemouth in December came to a gruesome halt when the defender collapsed on the pitch for the second time in a matter of months.
After suffering atrial fibrillation at Wembley in the Championship play-off final in May, Lockyer returned to football to captain his team in their first season in the Premier League.
However, a few months later football once again stood still and hoped for the best, after the Welsh international suffered a medical emergency again during the clash against the Cherries.
As such, he has now been fitted with an ICD, which aims to get his heart working again should it stop again, eliminating the need to wait for a defibrillator to arrive on the scene and hopefully saving his life.
WARNING: Disturbing images below
Tom Lockyer showed where the internal heart device was installed in his chest
The device contains a wire that goes to your heart and is designed to bring action back to the organ.
The defender collapsed on the pitch while playing against Bournemouth after suffering cardiac arrest
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“So that’s my war wound,” the defender told the Sky Sports cameras, as he looked closely at the device that had been fitted to save his life in the future.
‘My defibrillator is there, as you can see, there is a wire running through it and up to the heart in case it ever needs to be activated.
“So that means constantly monitoring my heart rate and if it goes outside certain parameters then it’s designed to shock me.”
“That’s the cable: the battery lasts about 10 years, so it only needs to be changed every 10 years and I hope I never need it, but it’s there as a precaution.”
The device can be seen protruding from under his left armpit, with a scar marking the incision made to place the device during surgery, with two other scars highlighting the shape of the device.
A life-changing event like this is sure to weigh heavily on anyone, let alone a young man of only 29 years old who hopes to become a father soon.
As such, Lockyer was able to relive the moments leading up to the incident with clarity, revealing that he knew the December emergency was “different” to the problems he faced in May.
“I was running to the halfway line and got really dizzy, thinking I’d be fine in a second. I wasn’t and I woke up to paramedics everywhere.
The Bournemouth scare was the second time Lockyer collapsed in a matter of months.
The Hatters defender has admitted he is “fine” after the scare left him technically dead for more than two and a half minutes.
‘It happened in May, but I knew instantly that this time was different, last time I woke up almost like from a dream and this time I woke up out of nowhere.
“I could see straight away, the paramedics, physiotherapists, club doctors, there was more panic, I couldn’t speak, I couldn’t move, trying to understand what was happening. “While that was happening, I remember thinking: ‘I could be dying here.’
“It’s a surreal thought to have been thinking that and not be able to move or respond, and you could see the panic.”
‘Once I regained consciousness it was a relief, I’m alive and fortunately it happened where it happened, I was living it and my family almost had it worse than me. After what happened in May I have a recording device, and I was out for two minutes and 40 seconds, and they had to give me a defibrillator to shock me back.’
Lockyer added that he has spoken to people such as Christian Eriksen, Daley Blind and Charlie Wyke, who have suffered similar problems.
He admitted he was “lucky” to collapse where he did, with medical staff around.
Fans were thrilled when the game was canceled and the match was rescheduled for March.
The advice he received, he said, focused on allowing himself to accept what had happened and process the events, although he suggested athletes were better able to “compartmentalize.”
The 29-year-old was pressed on the chances of him playing again and refused to rule it out, although he acknowledged that time is still some way off.
‘My hands, to a certain extent, are dictated by the medical staff and specialists. What I would say is that if there is a chance to play again (I won’t do anything against the specialists’ recommendations), then I would love to do it.
“It’s too early to say at this point that a lot more testing needs to be done in the background, but I wouldn’t rule it out at any point.” But my priority is my baby.’