BOLTON manager Owen Coyle has revealed that Fabrice Muamba is now able to walk as he continues his recovery from the cardiac arrest that almost killed him.
When he went to see him at the London Chest Hospital, the Bolton manager was astonished by the progress his midfielder was making since he was stricken by a heart condition at Tottenham last month.
Muamba collapsed in the first half of Bolton’s FA Cup quarter-final on March 17 after suffering a cardiac arrest which stopped his heart beating and he would have died without the immediate help of medical stuff on the pitch.
The 23 year-old was only kept alive by mouth-to-mouth resuscitation while attempts were made to revive him with a defibrillator and it took 78 minutes for the midfielder’s heart to start working on its own again.
The drama captured the hearts of the football world, with tributes and well-wishes flooding in from across the globe, while his recovery has been an inspiration to many.
Despite the valiant effort to save his life, which began on the pitch at White Hart Lane and continued in an ambulance and at the London Chest Hospital, it was feared the midfielder had suffered permanent health damage because of the length of time it took to resuscitate him.
“When I went to see him last week, he was able to walk around his room,” said Coyle in an exclusive interview with The Daily Telegraph to be published on Saturday.
“He’s come out the bed and sat in the chair. That was a week ago. And bit by bit the improvements are coming. God willing he gets back to a high standard.”
Coyle, who was hugely impressive in his handling of the affair, added that Bolton’s staff are in continual contact with the patient.
“He’s getting better day by day,” Coyle said. “It’s truly remarkable, given where he’s come from, when his heart stopped for over an hour and a half.
“There was a concern about the lack of oxygen during that period, but where he is now is terrific. He’s still got a long way to go. He’s stable. But he’s still in intensive care.”
It is too soon to say whether Muamba will be able to resume a football career which began in Arsenal’s academy before he signed for Birmingham City in 2006, but the fact he is able to walk so soon after the heart attack is encouraging.
Muamba, who moved to Bolton in 2008 for a fee of £5?million, still has a long way to go until then and doctors are more concerned with making sure the former England Under-21 international is able to lead a normal life when he eventually leaves hospital Coyle was full of praise for the medical staff at Spurs and, in particular, Dr Andrew Deaner, the London chest specialist who left his seat in the stand to supervise the initial treatment.
As well as ensuring Muamba was given the proper early treatment, Dr Deaner also insisted he was taken to the London Chest hospital where he worked, rather than the closest hospital, to the ground so that he could receive the best possible treatment from specialist staff.
“The specialists were fantastic, kept us informed every step of the way,” added Coyle. “They were astonished by his progress. Even by the Monday, they just weren’t expecting that to happen.
“It’s been a continual progress. He’s such a physically strong guy. But I have no doubt all that energy that came from all the good wishes have played a part [in his recovery].
“What they did in those initial stages — to be honest, with this stuff I’m out with my comfort zone — they did a cooling off, brought the body temperature right down, then stabilised it and brought the temperature back up so that the heart could kick in of its own accord.
“That was the critical moment. The concern they had was the oxygen to the brain. But the reaction he has had has eased that worry. He’s going the right way.”