In a season plagued by fans falling ill in the stands, yet another English football match has been delayed because of a medical emergency – the second-tier game between Millwall and Nottingham Forest (Sat 15th Jan 2022).
Just two weeks after a fan collapsed in the crowd during Tottenham's Premier League trip to Watford, London club Millwall announced that kick-off in their Championship clash at home to Forest would be delayed on Saturday.
Mystified fans reacted with alarm on social media after the Lions revealed that the game at the Den, in the south of the capital, would be put back by ten minutes while medics attended to the stricken supporter.
Millwall did not issue an immediate update about the condition of the supporter who was affected.
Anxious fans were quick to wish the individual well, with one writing: "Hope whoever it is makes a full recovery."
Another sarcastically suggested: "Another medical emergency. Totally normal"
Similar worrying hold-ups have become eerily frequent in England and other countries this season, continuing into 2022 after rarely being witnessed in previous years.
Fan collapses in football crowd yet again
The Premier League match between Tottenham and Watford has been halted by a medical emergency in the crowd – weeks after a game between the Hornets and Chelsea was interrupted by an onlooker having a cardiac arrest.
In scenes that were almost unprecedented before this season, a Premier League match has been suspended for the fourth time in a matter of months because of a supporter suddenly falling ill in the stands.
The worrying development, which caused Tottenham's trip to Watford in the top flight to be paused on Saturday, carries eerie echoes of three other emergencies that have played out during the current campaign in England.
Watford's Vicarage Road was also the setting for a medical intervention on December 2, when a member of the public had to be treated for 30 minutes and carried out after suffering the same ordeal.
Physios from both teams are said to have rushed to the supporter's aid when there was a second medical problem at the stadium near London on New Year's Day.
Football has been plagued by heart-related health incidents during the 2021/22 term.
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.
A fan is said to have suffered a medical emergency at St. Mary's during the clash between Southampton and Leicester.
The beginning of the second-half was delayed after a supporter collapsed in the stadium.
Amazon Prime, who were covering the game, announced the news live on air as the half-time interval was taking place.
Football commentator Jim Proudfoot, who was at St. Mary's, tweeted: "Thoughts with the Southampton fan who’s taken ill here. They do appear to be conscious - hopefully not as bad as it initially appeared."
The patient is said to be have been taken out onto the concourse, with Amazon saying they did not suffer a cardiac arrest.
However, one supporter at Vicarage Road did in fact suffer a cardiac arrest just moments earlier.
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."
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 most high-profile came when Christian Eriksen suffered a cardiac arrest on the pitch during Denmark's encounter with Finland at Euro 2020 in June.
When Spurs traveled to Newcastle on October 17, the nearby presence of a fellow fan who was an accident and emergency doctor proved to be of heroic benefit as a punter who suffered a cardiac arrest was saved.
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.
Cambridge v Portsmouth play 21 MINUTES added time after medical emergency as players leave pitch and fan carried away
CAMBRIDGE'S match against Portsmouth was stopped as a fan required medical treatment in the stand.
After less than ten minutes the supporter was carried away from the pitch as the rest of those inside the Abbey Stadium applauded.
The match was delayed but play later resumed with the match finishing 0-0
Ronan Curtis helped point out the fan to a medic
Play then continued but a total of 21 minutes was added on after the 90 minutes was completed.
Both Cambridge and Portsmouth have wished the ill supporter well, offering up their thoughts on social media.
Cambridge wrote on Twitter: "The stadium rises as one to applaud the supporter who is being carried off the pitch by the medical team and the teams emerge from the dressing room to restart the contest shortly.
"Our thoughts and prayers are with the supporter and their family."
Portsmouth said: "Both teams have returned to the pitch after some fantastic work from the medical team at the Abbey Stadium
"Our thoughts are with the Cambridge fan who was taken ill."
Managerial icon Jose Mourinho pledged to give his coat to a 23-year old supporter who was resuscitated during a game involving the Portuguese's Roma side in the Italian top flight, suffering a second cardiac arrest on their way to hospital by ambulance.
Some observers said they were surprised by the unsettling pattern after watching football for decades without ever seeing a medical emergency.
Numerous high-profile health-related episodes have also seen players require treatment for unusually serious ailments on the pitch during matches across the 2021/22 campaign.
Premier League icon Sergio Aguero tearfully announced his retirement with a heart problem after he was forced out of a Barcelona game shortly after joining the Spanish giants.
Sweden defender Victor Lindelof left a Manchester United game prematurely when he suffered breathing difficulties, and Denmark midfielder Christian Eriksen recently left Inter Milan because of a pacemaker-style device he had fitted after experiencing a cardiac arrest during a Euro 2020 match.