Belfast Telegraph

Fabrice Muamba tells Bolton Wanderers' doctor 'I'm fine'

By Rosa Silverman and Katie Hodge

The early signs of Fabrice Muamba's recovery have continued and the footballer said last night that he was "fine", Bolton Wanderers' team doctor said today.

The 23-year-old remains in intensive care at the London Chest Hospital after suffering a cardiac arrest during an FA Cup match on Saturday.

Dr Jonathan Tobin, who visited Muamba yesterday evening, said: "I'm glad to say that the early signs of recovery have continued. I went to see Fabrice last night. I went in and he said 'Hi, doc.'

"I asked him how he was and he said 'Fine'."

Dr Tobin said the player had asked him what had happened.

"I explained to him what had happened," he said. "That's the sort of level of communication I have had with Fabrice."

It took 15 shocks to get the player's heart started after he collapsed, he said.

Speaking at the hospital in Bethnal Green, east London, he told of his reaction when he first realised the player was in trouble.

Going through his head was the thought "Oh my God, it's Fabrice", he said.

He described how a paramedic had held his hips as he stood in the ambulance trying to treat the footballer on the way to the hospital.

Medics worked on Muamba for 48 minutes between his collapse and arrival at the hospital, Dr Tobin said.

At the hospital, doctors worked on him for another 30 minutes before his heart started beating again.

"In effect, he was dead in that time," Dr Tobin said.

He admitted he broke down in tears in the hospital corridor when the seriousness of what had happened to the player hit home - and added that he had feared the worst.

Dr Andrew Deaner, the cardiologist and Tottenham fan who leapt from his seat in the crowd and rushed on to the pitch to help the player, said his recovery could be described as "miraculous".

He said: "If you're going to use the term miraculous, I guess it could be used here."

Dr Deaner went to visit the player after he had woken up and recalled that Muamba was able to make a joke even that early on into his recovery process.

"I whispered into his ear 'What's your name?'," he said.

The footballer gave his name.

Dr Deaner went on: "I said 'I understand you're a very good footballer'. And he said 'I try'."

Dr Deaner said he had had tears in his eyes at witnessing that sign of the player's sense of humour returning so soon.

He 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."

His brother agreed, he said, and so the father of three sprang into action.

"Something sort of told me I should go down," he said. "The adrenaline starts pumping when you see a cardiac arrest."

He added: "Looking back, it wouldn't have been surprising if the guys there... said 'Go away, we don't need anybody else'."

But the whole response to the incident had been carried out faultlessly, he said.

"If you were going to make a film to teach people how to run a complex arrest, this would have been the arrest to film because everything went as it should," he said.

"One thing after another just went right."

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."

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