Belfast Telegraph

Thursday 18 December 2014

Reo-Coker recalls Muamba collapse

Nigel Reo-Coker
Nigel Reo-Coker

Bolton midfielder Nigel Reo-Coker has revealed the full horror of Fabrice Muamba's collapse at Tottenham last Saturday.

Reo-Coker was one of the closest players to Muamba when he suffered the cardiac arrest that almost claimed his life. In fact, Muamba had just rejected an offer to drop deep and allow Reo-Coker to slip into a more attacking role when the former West Ham man noticed his team-mate had gone down.

"It feels like a lifetime ago," he said. "I remember him running back and collecting a half-clearance from one of our centre-backs. I was facing our right-back position, turned around and saw Fabrice on the floor. I thought there had been a collision but then I realised there was no one close to him."

He added: "He was shaking. I thought he might have been having a fit but I didn't realise how serious it was until the physio got there and I tried to help him turn Fabrice over."

The speed at which Muamba received medical attention has earned widespread praise. For his team-mates, it was a scene of total devastation.

"Emotions were everywhere in the dressing room," said Reo-Coker. "We've got a very young team and a lot of them were in tears. There was nothing you could say. One minute you're playing a game, the next he's lying there.

"There were no signs. Nothing. We were all powerless. It was in the hands of the medical department and God."

And slowly, information began to emerge.

"We were waiting for news from the ambulance and heard he'd been shocked six times," he said. "I spoke to the doctor and his heart wasn't beating and I feared the worst.

"We didn't know whether to go to the hospital or head home. When I closed the door, I didn't pick up the phone to anyone. I couldn't think straight. It's an experience you never expect or want to go through. It's a life-changing experience. It just shows how precious life is."

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