Bolton Wanderers footballer Fabrice Muamba is in a stable condition in hospital after collapsing on the pitch during an FA Cup quarter final match
Muamba, the Bolton Wanderers midfielder, fell to the ground suddenly – 41 minutes into the game against Tottenham Hotspur, at White Hart Lane, which was on live television.No other players were near him at the time.The match was abandoned as both teams’ doctors spent ten minutes treating him on the pitch in front of around 35,000 fans.
Muamba, 23, was taken to a north London hospital, where a spokesman said he is now in a stable condition.Reporters at the game said he was not breathing as he was stretchered off the pitch and into an ambulance.As he fell to the ground, Bolton manager Owen Coyle ran on to the pitch to see what had happened. Coyle and club captain Kevin Davies went with him to hospital.
Other players gathered round and Rafael van der Vaart, the Dutch Spurs player, and others prayed while doctors treated him.Fans chanted Muamba’s name, while many were in tears.Several minutes after play stopped because of Muamba’s collapse, Howard Webb, the referee, ordered the players off the pitch and fans were told the game had been abandoned.
Ian Dennis, of BBC 5Live, said spectators could see that a defibrillator was being used on the footballer.He said: “You had a situation which was very eerie. Obviously everybody could see that Fabrice Muamba was fighting for his life out on the pitch. Supporters of both sides were chanting his name.”
The scene recalled memories of Cameroon’s Marc Vivien-Foe, 28, who collapsed and died during a Confederations Cup match against Colombia, in Lyon, in 2003.Phil O’Donnell, 35, the Motherwell midfielder, died after collapsing during a Scottish Premier League match against Dundee United in December 2007.
Muamba was born in Kinshasa, in the Democratic Republic of Congo.His father, Marcel, fled to the UK in 1994 – having been an adviser to President Mobutu Sese Seko – and was given indefinite leave to remain in 1999, when the rest of his family joined him in Walthamstow, east London.
The player, who has represented England at every level, from under 16 to 21, was 11 when he came to the UK and could not speak English.He went on however to earn 10 GCSEs as well as A-levels in French, maths and English. Off the pitch he enjoys listening to opera music.
On his Twitter account he describes himself as a “proud dad” to Joshua Jeremiah, his child with Shauna Magunda, to whom he became engaged on Valentine’s Day .He joined Arsenal in 2002, having supported the team as a child in Congo, and became a professional in 2005.
The following year he joined Birmingham, first on loan, and then on a permanent basis following a £4 million deal. In 2008, he joined Bolton for £5 million, and now lives in Cheshire.Fans said silence descended over the ground as it became clear how serious the situation was.
Paul Bowman, 53, a Tottenham fan from London Colney, Hertfordshire, said: “The player went down with no-one near him. He just collapsed.”Mr Bowman, who was at the match with his three children, added: “The other players saw immediately that this looked bad. We could see they were trying to resuscitate him. Everyone was in shock. We all watched and waited.
“All the support staff and substitutes were on the pitch. Fans from both teams were chanting Muamba’s name.”"The players were in shock. No-one wanted it to go on.”It was eerie coming out of the ground. No-one was saying anything. There was hush, a silence. No-one could quite believe it. It was terrible.”