Home » EPL, Latest » FA Cup tie between Spurs & Bolton called off after player suffers heart attack

Fabrice Muamba, the Bolton Wanderers footballer, is ‘critically ill’ in the London Chest Hospital after suffering a suspected cardiac arrest during Saturday’s FA Cup quarter final with Tottenham at White Hart Lane.

Club medical staff and paramedics used CPR and defibrillation as Muamba, 23, fought for his life on the pitch.

Bolton said that the midfielder was “in a critically ill condition in intensive care”.

Shortly before half-time, Muamba collapsed without warning and players swiftly signalled for help. There had been no previous indication that he was in distress before he suddenly lost consciousness, and the gravity of the situation swiftly became apparent. Bolton manager Owen Coyle was heard to shout “he’s just collapsed” and rush on to the pitch, while players from both teams were clearly distraught.

One report claimed that a consultant cardiologist, who was watching the game from the stands, rushed on to the pitch to help treat Muamba. He received heart massage from paramedics for approximately six minutes before being carried to the tunnel on a stretcher. He continued to receive CPR while on the stretcher and had a mask to help with his breathing — defibrillators were also used in the tunnel.

Referee Howard Webb decided to abandon the match, which stood at 1-1, with the players clearly in no fit state to continue. Coyle and club captain Kevin Davies accompanied Muamba to hospital. Fans in the stands chanted Muamba’s name before slowly dispersing while on the social network site, Twitter, there was an outpouring of support from the football community.

Muamba had played a typically combative part in the game until the 41st minute. With the score at 1-1 there was no obvious indication that he was in distress. He was running back to help defend a Tottenham attack when he collapsed. The response of the club medical staff and paramedics was almost immediate.

There were worrying echoes of previous incidents, in which players have collapsed and died after suffering heart attacks. Marc-Vivien Foe died on the pitch in June 2003 while playing for Cameroon in the Confederations Cup. Since then Miklos Feher, of Hungary, Daniel Jarque and Antonio Puerta, both of Spain and Scotland’s Phil O’Donnell have suffered fatal heart attacks.

Muamba was born in Kinshasa, in the Democratic Republic of Congo (then Zaire), and moved to England in 1999 after his father sought political asylum from Mobutu’s regime five years earlier. Despite not speaking English on arriving at the age of 11 in Walthamstow, he excelled as a sportsman and a student, captaining England at Under 19 and getting his A-levels. He is married with a son.

He came through the academy at Arsenal, where he earned favourable comparisons with Patrick Vieira for his aggressive tackling and hard-running. Arsène Wenger sent him out to spend a season on loan with Steve Bruce’s Birmingham City and, after he impressed at St Andrews, he moved there on a permanent basis in 2007.

The following year he switched to Bolton for £5 million as one of the most promising central midfielders in the country. He has become a popular and valued member of the Bolton team, playing 141 games, and established himself in Stuart Pearce’s England Under 21 side, winning 33 caps at that level. He is married with a young son.

Football Association Chairman David Bernstein said: “On behalf of the FA, I would like to send our thoughts and prayers to Fabrice and his family. Fabrice has played 33 times for England’s Under-21s, captaining Stuart Pearce’s side during this time and is a player, and more importantly, a person, we care greatly for.”

Source: Telegraph

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