It was revealed that soccer player Fabrice Muamba’s heart ceased to beat for a total of 78 minutes on March 17 after collapsing on the field with a heart attack during an English FA Cup game. Muamba, who plays for Bolton Wanderers of the English Premier League, fell face first to the pitch just before half time in a quarterfinal matchup against Tottenham Hotspur at London’s White Hart Lane.
Jonathan Tobin, Bolton’s team doctor, said on March 22 that the 23-year-old, who was born in the former African nation of Zaire, was clinically dead for 78 minutes after the incident. He also said Muamba was shocked 15 times with a defibrillator between the time he collapsed and arrived at the London Chest Hospital.
Medics attended to the midfielder as soon as he collapsed, but couldn’t revive him during the 48 minutes they tried. When he arrived at the hospital doctors shocked him for another 30 minutes and his heart finally started to beat on its own. Tobin said the longer the resuscitation time the worse it usually is for a person, but luckily Muamba was in excellent physical condition.
Still, Tobin added that the recovery has been remarkable as Muamba started breathing on his own two days after being admitted to the hospital and then started speaking. Doctors had feared he may have suffered brain damage during the incident since there was no supply of oxygen to it for a brief period of time.
But experts believe he survived the ordeal because the medics were able to keep his vital organs supplied with oxygen and blood for most of the 78 minutes that his heart stopped. A fan who was at the game, Dr. Andrew Deaner, jumped out of his seat and rushed to Muamba’s side to help out during the incident. He added that Muamba’s recovery has been nothing short of miraculous considering the length of time his heart stopped beating.
Nobody’s certain what caused the heart attack and team doctors said that Muamba had undergone routine screenings and tests for heart defects before the season started. While he appears to have survived the ordeal and he’s out of intensive care, there’s no telling yet if Muamba will be able to resume his soccer career.
After Muamba collapsed, the game was called off with the score tied 1-1 and will be replayed on March 27. Bolton postponed their game against Aston Villa on March 20 and was thinking about calling off their match on March 24 against the Blackburn Rovers as well. However, since Muamba has recovered so quickly that game will now be played.
It’s been reported that England’s national soccer team will all undergo heart screenings and tests before competing at the European Championships (Euro 2012) this summer in Poland and Ukraine. In addition, the Premier League is going to review its emergency services at games to see if any improvements can be made when treating players who suffer cardiac arrest.