Fan 'stable' after cardiac arrest at Watford; Southampton medical emergency also confirmed

Referee David Coote stopped play 13 minutes into the first half at Watford after players alerted him to an ongoing medical emergency in the crowd; Watford confirmed a fan suffered a cardiac arrest and was "stable" after a delay to the game; also a medical emergency at Southampton

Watford's Moussa Sissoko points referee David Coote towards a medical emergency in the stands at Vicarage Road
Image: Referee David Coote stopped the game at Watford while the fan received treatment

A supporter is in a stable condition following a cardiac arrest in the stands at Watford on Wednesday, while a medical emergency involving a fan was also confirmed at Southampton.

Play was stopped 13 minutes into the first half of the game between Watford and Chelsea at Vicarage Road after players, including Chelsea's Marcos Alonso, alerted referee David Coote to an ongoing medical emergency in the Graham Taylor Stand.

The players left the field for more than 30 minutes as medical and stewarding staff rushed to assist the fan, who was given space as other supporters cleared the surrounding seats.

The fan was eventually taken away from the stadium on a stretcher to applause from the crowd, and the players returned for a five-minute warm-up before play resumed.

Watford said: "Our thoughts are with the fan - who had a cardiac arrest but has now been stabilised - and all those affected. Thank you to the medical staff, players and fans for their quick response."

Chelsea and Watford players leave the pitch as medical staff attend to a medical emergency in the stands
Image: Chelsea and Watford players leave the pitch as medical staff attend to a medical emergency in the stands

A medical emergency involving a fan was also confirmed at St Mary's, which caused a five-minute delay to the start of the second half of the match between Southampton and Leicester.

There is no further confirmed information about the fan's condition but the person was said to be conscious as they were taken away from the inner arena.

The incident at Watford is the second confirmed cardiac arrest suffered by a supporter during a Premier League game this season, after Newcastle's home defeat to Tottenham in October - the first game under the home side's new owners - was stopped in the 40th minute.

Medical teams assisted a fan at St James' Park during Newcastle United's game against Tottenham.
Image: Medical teams assisted a fan at St James' Park during Newcastle United's game against Tottenham

The Premier League's first priority in these instances is always the wellbeing of the person who has been taken ill, and there has been no change in policy adopted by clubs following the three recent medical emergencies.

Every top-flight match must have a crowd doctor in attendance, who is responsible for the general health of spectators. They will be the primary responder to any emergency, along with the paramedics.

Premier League protocols dictate there is at least one defibrillator at every match. It is part of the Mandatory Medical Equipment required for each game and most clubs have more than one defibrillator available.

Any disruption to play is down to the referee, who uses their common sense and discretion to decide the best course of action in these circumstances.

Much depends on where the spectator is in the ground, and factors such as how quickly medical attention can be brought to them, how many spectators around them are impacted, how best can the patient be afforded privacy, and how easily can they be moved.

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