Watford boss Claudio Ranieri praises speed of response to medical emergency

The emergency led to a temporary halt 12 minutes into the fixture.
Medical staff attend to an emergency in the stands (Mike Egerton/PA)

Medical staff attend to an emergency in the stands (Mike Egerton/PA)

By Sonia Twigg, PA

Claudio Ranieri praised the speed of the medical response after a fan suffered a cardiac arrest during Watford’s defeat to Chelsea on Wednesday.

A medical emergency forced a temporary halt 12 minutes into the fixture, with staff from both teams racing across the pitch to assist supporter Larry Brooks, who was stabilised and then taken to hospital. The club confirmed on Thursday evening that he was in “good spirits” as he prepared to undergo further treatment.

It was the second time this season a Premier League game had been halted during play due to a medical emergency. In October a Newcastle fan suffered a cardiac arrest at St James’ Park during the first half of their match against Tottenham and was stabilised inside the stadium before being taken to hospital.

Ranieri praised the way everyone reacted to the incident at Vicarage Road.

“Look, I think now all the medical staff are involved to help players and also the fans,” Ranieri said.

“A long time ago there wasn’t a defibrillator and now it is much better.

“Of course I am happy, I am because now if something happens, in two or three minutes the medical staff arrive anywhere in the stadium and that is very, very important and it is important that the people around the man or woman who has something immediately ask the linesman or to somebody and then everyone is ready to help.”

Watford later issued an update on Mr Brooks on their official website.

It said: “The Hornets are pleased to report that Larry Brooks, the supporter who collapsed during yesterday’s game at Vicarage Road, is in good spirits and being well cared for.

“Watford FC has kept in touch with Larry during today and, while he’s still in hospital under observation, he is in remarkably good form and keen to discuss the Hornets’ fortunes for the season ahead rather than talk about what happened to him at the game.

“Larry will require further treatment to address an underlying condition, but hopes to rejoin fellow Golden Boys’ followers at Vicarage Road very soon, and he has accepted the club’s invitation for him and his family to be guests at a future Hornets’ home fixture.

“For now, good luck with your recovery, Larry, from everyone here at Vicarage Road and all your fellow Watford supporters.”

Watford face another of the title favourites on Saturday as they host Manchester City, who have beaten the Hornets in every meeting between the sides since 2007.

But Ranieri insisted he will not approach the game with Pep Guardiola’s team any differently.

He said: “I prepare in the same way. I try to study very well the opponent and I try to tell the players everything they must do to try to win.

“Of course we have two situations on the pitch, when you attack and when you defend and of course we have to improve our attack and we have to improve our defence.

“(City) is a fantastic team. Guardiola is working very well, he has built a fantastic quality team and they can make the difference in every situation and for this reason we must be focused on the match 100 per cent.”

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