Fabrice Muamba Bolton Tottenham Collapse Soccer

Fabrice Muamba’s ‘Astonishing’ Progress: Soccer Star ‘In Effect’ Dead for 78 Minutes

Last weekend, the sudden collapse of 23-year-old Bolton midfielder Fabrice Muamba during an FA Cup final due to cardiac arrest was shocking to fans and fellow players, and in the intervening days, it seems the athlete is making a quicker than expected recovery.

Overall, Muamba’s illness itself (being fit and young) as well as his recovery both came as a surprise. That’s because while the player has been recovering well over the past week, he was “in effect” dead for more than an hour. Bolton team doctor Jonathan Tobin explained that in the time elapsed between Muamba’s myocardial infarction and his arrival at the hospital, medics were unable to get his heart beating again.

Medics on the pitch worked on Muamba with a defibrillator for a stunning 48 minutes- a lengthy period of time in and of itself when it comes to vital processes shutting down. But it was another 30 minutes in transit and several defibrillator shocks when the patient finally began responding. Tobin explains:

“They were working on him without his heart having a muscular beat. In effect, he was dead in that time… throughout the whole resuscitation period you are worrying. You know the longer the resuscitation goes on the less chance there is of survival, but this is slightly different. This is a very fit 23-year-old.”

Dr. Andrew Deaner is a cardiologist and Tottenham fan in attendance for Saturday’s match. Deaner responded when Muamba was stricken ill, and USA Today quotes the doc about the player’s fast recovery:

“If you’re going to use the term ‘miraculous,’ I guess it could be used here. He has made a remarkable recovery so far… Two hours after (regaining consciousness) I whispered in his ear, ‘What’s your name?’ and he said, ‘Fabrice Muamba.’ I said, ‘I hear you’re a really good footballer’ and he said, ‘I try.’ I had a tear in my eye.”

Deaner says that it remains to be seen whether Muamba will be able to resume his career, and a cause for his myocardial infarction has yet to be determined.