English Premiership

Muamba improving 'bit-by-bit'

2012-03-26 15:08
Fabrice Muamba (File)

London - Bolton Wanderers footballer Fabrice Muamba is making "encouraging progress" in his recovery from a cardiac arrest, doctors said on Monday.

The 23-year-old remains in intensive care in the London Chest Hospital, where his condition is described as "serious but stable", after collapsing during an FA Cup quarter-final with Tottenham Hotspur on Saturday, March 17.

A joint statement issued by the hospital and Bolton said: "Fabrice Muamba remains in intensive care at the London Chest Hospital, where his condition is serious but stable.

"He continues to make encouraging progress in his recovery. Over the weekend, he has been able to sit out of bed for a short time, watch television and has begun to eat.

"However, he will need to continue to be closely monitored by the medical team at the London Chest for some time.

"His family requests that he receives no more visitors for the moment, outside of immediate family and members of Bolton Wanderers Football Club."

Earlier, Bolton manager Owen Coyle said the former England Under-21 midfielder had watched highlights of Wanderers' 2-1 Premier League win at home to local rivals Blackburn Rovers on Saturday - the club's first match since Muamba's collapse and one preceded with tributes to the stricken player.

"He was able to watch Match of the Day on Sunday morning," said Coyle.

"I am led to believe he fell asleep when it was 2-0," he added of a match where victory saw Bolton climb out of the relegation zone.

"I don't know if he still thinks we won 2-0 but it is so great to know that bit-by-bit he is getting better, even if he still has a long way to go.

"Over the last few days he has been able to take in more of the goodwill that globally he has been getting from people and the prayers and everything else.

"He wanted to thank everybody for that support.

"We have to make sure we continue that but he is on his way to recovery. God willing that continues."

Shortly after Muamba's collapse towards the end of the first half at Tottenham's White Hart Lane ground, the match was abandoned and the player - who was said to be "effectively dead" for 78 minutes taken to the nearby London Chest Hospital, where he has been ever since.

The re-arranged FA Cup tie will take place at White Hart Lane on Tuesday and Coyle said a group of players would visit Muamba in hospital ahead of the match.

"It will give us a chance to thank the Tottenham fans because last Saturday it was almost like a sixth sense had taken over," said Coyle.

"There was a real sense of unity.

"Is it going to be tough? Yes."

The Scot added: "Fabrice's father, Marcel, and fiancé, Shauna, wanted to express their thanks to everyone. Football is a passionate game but nothing is more important than Fabrice's recovery."

Muamba was born in what is now the Democratic Republic of Congo but came to Britain at the age of 11.

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