On Wednesday, Bolton Wanderers announced that midfielder Fabrice Muamba has made the decision to retire from professional soccer on the advice of doctors.
Muamba, 24, nearly died after he went into cardiac arrest and collapsed during a game back in March. The fact that Muamba is even alive to retire seems miraculous–technically, he died. Muamba’s heart stopped beating for 78 minutes, but it started again after emergency personnel took him to a London hospital.
“While the news is devastating, I have much to be thankful for,” Muamba said in a statement. “I thank God that I am alive and I pay tribute once again to the members of the medical team who never gave up on me.”
“I would also like to thank everyone who has supported me throughout my career and the Bolton fans who have been incredible. I am blessed to have the support of my family and friends at this time.”
“Football has been my life since I was a teenage boy and it has given me so many opportunities,” Muamba added. “Above all else, I love the game and count myself very lucky to have been able to play at the highest level.
Muamba’s recovery in the months after was hailed as being astonishing and encouraging, but whether or not he would be able to resume his soccer career was never a given.
“Everyone has seen what a fighter and strong person he is in mind and body,” Bolton manager Owen Coyle said of Muamba. “We know that he will go on to achieve great things and within all this disappointment, the most important thing is that he is here, alive, today.”