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Doctors hail 'miraculous' Muamba

Fabrice Muamba was "in effect dead" for almost 80 minutes, doctors have said as they hailed his "miraculous" recovery.

The cardiologist who leapt from his seat in the crowd and rushed on to the pitch to help the Bolton footballer after he suffered a cardiac arrest during an FA Cup match said he was already making jokes again while in intensive care.

Dr Andrew Deaner recalled his visit to Muamba after he had just woken up. "I whispered into his ear 'What's your name?'," he said, and the footballer gave his name. Dr Deaner went on: "I said 'I understand you're a very good footballer'. And he said 'I try'."

The doctor, who has been widely praised for his efforts to save the 23-year-old footballer, added: "If you're going to use the term miraculous, it could be used here."

Meanwhile, Bolton Wanderers' team doctor Jonathan Tobin, who also rushed to the player's side when he collapsed on Saturday, admitted breaking down in tears afterwards, fearing the worst. Speaking at the London Chest Hospital in Bethnal Green, east London, where Muamba is being treated, he told of the nerve-racking 80 minutes in which Muamba's heart failed to beat.

"It was 48 minutes from the time he collapsed to the time he reached the hospital and then it was a further 30 minutes in the hospital they were working on him without his heart having a muscular beat," he said. "(Eighty minutes) without his heart beating and without him breathing - in effect he was dead in that time."

Dr Deaner recalled how he had been watching the match with his brother when he saw Muamba collapse and doctors rush to his side. Turning to his brother, he said: "They're doing CPR. I should go and help."

He added: "He's made a remarkable recovery so far. We don't want to get ahead of ourselves... As things stand, I think his life is not in danger at this time. His neurological function is looking very good but it is early days."

Dr Tobin also expressed cautious optimism about Muamba's recovery, revealing that the player had declared himself "fine". He added that it took 15 shocks to get the player's heart started after he collapsed.

Recalling the moment he arrived at the player's side, as he lay face-down on the ground, he said: "I can't begin to explain the pressure that was there. As I was running on to the pitch, once I got there, my focus was entirely on Fabrice. I wasn't aware that players had gathered around."

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