English Premiership

Muamba 'stable but critical'

2012-03-19 11:51
Fabrice Muamba (File)
London - Bolton Wanderers player Fabrice Muamba was in a stable but critical condition on Monday, two days after he suffered a cardiac arrest during a match, a statement from the hospital treating him said.

Muamba, 23, slumped onto the turf towards the end of the first half of an FA Cup quarter-final at Tottenham's White Hart Lane stadium in London on Saturday.

Millions of TV viewers saw medical staff attempting to resuscitate him as players, who were visibly shaken, looked on.

A statement issued on behalf of Bolton and the London Chest Hospital said: "Fabrice Muamba's heart condition is stable, but he remains critically ill in intensive care at The London Chest Hospital."

On Sunday night, the hospital had said Muamba was in a "critical condition".

His manager at Premier League club Bolton, Owen Coyle, spoke of the midfielder's "brave fight" after visiting Muamba at hospital on Monday.

Coyle said the player's family had been inundated with messages of support.

"They have been inundated as we all have, both in the football community globally and family and friends. People are taking a genuine interest and a real concern in how Fabrice is doing."

The plight of the player born in what is now the Democratic Republic of Congo sparked a wave of support from his fellow Premier League players and football fans worldwide.

Teams led fans in a minute's applause before matches on Sunday while his former Bolton team-mate, Gary Cahill, unveiled a t-shirt reading "Pray 4 Muamba" after he scored for his new club Chelsea.

Muamba's fiancee, Shauna Muamba, the mother to their three-year-old son Joshua, thanked fans on Twitter for their support.

"God is in control. Please keep afmuamba in ur prayers xx"

She later added: "Please keep praying for afmuamba its really helping I can feel it xx".

Following Muamba's on-field collapse, referee Howard Webb took the players off the field and then, with the agreement of both clubs, abandoned a tie where the score had stood at 1-1.

The incident has led Bolton to postpone their next match, a Premier League game away to Aston Villa due to take place on Tuesday.

But Bolton captain Kevin Davies said the prospect of fixture congestion was of no concern to him or his team-mates.

"Any of those questions are irrelevant at the minute," he said.

"The club will take a stance on it in the next couple of days. But at the minute we want to just try and help Fabrice."

Muamba was born in Kinshasa but came to England aged 11 to join up with his father, who had fled the country.

He started his football career as a schoolboy at Arsenal, whose manager Arsene Wenger said: "As a man, Fabrice has a positive attitude towards life, he is full of determination and has a great desire.

"When he was younger, he had massive players in front of him at Arsenal, but I felt he had reached the level to play in the Premier League, so we let him go and he has proved his quality.

"A football player always remains attached to where he was educated. Fabrice had his friends from childhood here and they remain your friends forever.

"We are all thinking of Fabrice, his family and everyone close to him."

As Muamba continued to fight for his life, experts said any recovery would depend on to what extent his brain had been starved of oxygen.

Amanda Varnava, a consultant cardiologist at St Mary's Hospital in London, called on Britain to follow Italy's example and screen all young athletes for genetic heart problems.

"The Italians have dropped the incidence by 90 percent," she told The Times. "It would be a good idea here.

"It's got to the point where 12 young people under the age of 35 (in the UK) die each week, which is an appalling tragedy."

The fact that seemingly fit young men could suffer cardiac problems while playing was brought home to the football world by the death of Cameroon's Marc-Vivien Foe during a Confederations Cup semi-final against Colombia in 2003.

And in 2004, another Bolton player, Senegal international Khalilou Fadiga, collapsed before a League Cup tie against Tottenham at the Reebok with a heart problem but subsequently recovered.

Sanjay Sharma, professor of cardiology at St George's Hospital, London, told The Times that players were screened at the age of 16 in England but that not all clubs carried out regular checks.

Read more on:    bolton  |  tottenham  |  fa cup  |  fabrice muamba  |  soccer
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