Tearful Muamba returns to stadium for first time since cardiac arrest
Published 08/11/2012 | 21:37
FABRICE Muamba broke down in tears tonight as he revisited the scene of his horrific cardiac arrest for the first time.
Muamba stunned the football world on March 17 when, while playing for Bolton, he suddenly collapsed off the ball in the first half of their FA Cup tie against Tottenham at White Hart Lane.
The 24-year-old's heart stopped beating for 78 minutes hours but remarkably he made a full recovery after being rushed by ambulance to the nearby London Chest Hospital.
Cardiologist Andrew Deaner also leapt from his seat in the White Hart Lane crowd to aid the stricken midfielder.
Tonight the former England Under-21 international, who has since retired from football, returned to the home of the north London club during their Europa League Group J clash against Maribor.
Muamba emerged from the tunnel at half-time to a huge standing ovation from the home support and went over and pointed to the exact spot where he collapsed nearly seven months ago.
He then dabbed away tears before addressing the crowd. Struggling to get his words out, an emotional Muamba said: "I can't express... All I can say is thanks to the Tottenham fans the way they reacted (when he collapsed).
"There are people out there who prayed for me. I want to thank the chairman, and to all the Spurs fans. I am grateful to them. They are awesome fans."
Muamba's collapse caused a huge outpouring of sympathy from leading figures within the game.
He has spent his recent time writing an autobiography and has also been trying to raise awareness about heart problems.
"We just want to raise money so everyone has their heart checked," he added.
"Today I wanted to visit that place one more time for closure."
Andre Villas-Boas was glad to see Muamba had recovered from the collapse.
The Tottenham manager wrote in his programme notes: "I would like to extend a special welcome here this evening to Fabrice Muamba.
"What happened to Fabrice at this stadium eight months ago has obviously changed his life forever.
"Everyone in the game and the wider footballing world was delighted to see him make a full recovery. We are thrilled to have him here tonight and I would like to wish him the very best for the future."