Miraculous is one of those words so often overused that it somehow seems inadequate to describe Fabrice Muamba’s recovery now that he is out of hospital and talking about how he came back from the dead.
Just over a month ago, the 24 year old Bolton midfielder collapsed in the 41st minute of his side’s televised FA Cup tie at Tottenham and was effectively dead for over an hour. It took 15 defibrillator shocks – two on the pitch and 13 in the ambulance – to get his heart beating again.
It is fascinating to read how he told The Sun that he thanks the power of prayer for his survival, revealing that he asked God for protection before the match during a phone call to his father – something he said he does before every game.
‘What happened to me was really more than a miracle,’ concludes Muamba, who told the newspaper: “I am walking proof of the power of prayer. For 78 minutes I was dead and even if I lived was expected to have suffered brain damage. But I’m very much alive and sitting here talking now. Some one up there was watching over me.’
To hear that Muamba now hopes to make an emotional return to Bolton’s Reebok Stadium on May 2, when his team-mates face Tottenham, is a truly remarkable twist. It was March 17 at White Hart Lane when the world watched in horror as medics fought to save his life in front of a live television audience.
Now back home from the London Chest Hospital, the former England Under 21 international – raised in Britain from the age of 11 after his family fled his birthplace in Zaire as political refugees – is talking about attending one of Bolton’s two remain remaining home games. Either the Spurs match or West Bromwich Albion four days later.
It has been a remarkable season. But this would be truly unbelievable. Anyone doubting that should read Muamba’s graphic description of what happened to him in his interview with The Sun, whom he tells: ‘I ran upfield to try and get on the end of a cross from Martin Petrov on our left wing and as I ran back into midfield I felt very slightly dizzy. It wasn’t a normal dizziness – it was a kind of surreal feeling like I was running along inside someone else’s body.
‘Then I made another burst forward and noticed it again. Then my vision started to go. I had no pain whatsoever. No clutching at my chest.Then I started to see double. It felt almost like a dream. There was no one anywhere near me when I started to feel myself falling
‘The last thing I remember was our defender Dedryck Boyata screaming at me to get back and help out in defence. I just felt myself falling then I felt two thumps as my head hit the ground in front of me then that was it. Blackness, nothing. I was dead.’