Fabrice Muamba hails Northern Ireland doctor Frank Pantridge whose invention saved his life on pitch
Former footballer Fabrice Muamba has said he owes his life to an Northern Ireland doctor after his invention kept him alive during a cardiac arrest on the pitch in 2012.
The ex-Bolton Wanderers player paid tribute to Hillsborough-born Professor Frank Pantridge for his invention of the portable defibrillator yesterday - 50 years after the device was first used.
Muamba was playing in an FA cup quarter-final against Tottenham Hotspur at White Hart Lane in March 2012 when he collapsed.
He received medical attention on the pitch, including from consultant cardiologist Dr Andrew Deaner, who was there as a fan.
The crowd watched in horror as the team battled to restart Muamba's heart and he was rushed to the coronary unit at the London Chest Hospital
Speaking to the BBC, Muamba said: "It was the biggest game of my life. The FA cup quarter-final, Tottenham away.
"I remember missing the chance during the game, then running back there was nobody around me. Suddenly I began to feel really dizzy, then I collapsed. There was no pain, no warning sign - it just happened.
"I don't remember anything that happened next but later I found out that my heart stopped. I was fortunate to receive immediate medical attention. Crucially, there was a portable defibrillator on hand. It saved my life."
Muamba was shocked twice on the pitch by the device and another 12 times in the ambulance.
After 78 minutes his heart was finally restarted and he regained consciousness in hospital.
Muamba added: "I am very grateful for unbelievable medical staff who helped me.
"I am thankful to Frank Pantridge, because without his invention of the portable defibrillator I would not be here today.
"He was an outspoken individual, who often had a problem with authority and he didn't suffer fools gladly, but I and thousands of others like me who have been treated by a portable defibrillator owe him my life.
"That is why I continue to campaign to have more portable defibrillators available throughout the UK; you never know when and where it might be needed."
Muamba was forced to retire from professional football at the age of 24 because of his heart condition.
He has been pursuing a career in the media and last summer graduated with a degree in sports journalism from Staffordshire University.
Born in 1916, Professor Pantridge worked as a lecturer at Queen's University Belfast.
In 1950 he became a cardiac consultant at the Royal Victoria Hospital in the city.
He was later dubbed the "father of emergency medicine" for his revolutionary invention of the portable defibrillator.