A little over a month ago, Bolton midfielder Fabrice Muamba suffered a heart attack on the field during a match against Tottenham. Miraculously, he was revived after being clinically “dead” for 78 minutes, and was discharged from the hospital a few days ago.
The 24-year-old, who is devoutly religious, chalked up his survival to the power of prayer — as well as the presence of Dr. Andrew Deaner, a Tottenham fan who rushed onto the field after Muamba collapsed.
Before the game, Muamba said he felt “particularly fit” and “focused,” but started experiencing strange sensations during the 41st minute of the match:
“It wasn’t normal dizziness – it was a kind of surreal feeling like I was running along inside someone else’s body… I had no pain whatsoever. No clutching at my chest or tightness like you see when people have heart attacks in movies. Just an odd feeling that’s impossible to explain. Then I started to see double. It was almost like a dream… I just felt myself falling through the air and then felt two big thumps as my head hit the ground in front of me then that was it. Blackness, nothing. I was dead.”
That’s heavy, man. Muamba said he didn’t have any memory of being treated or rushed to the hospital, or of having a “zapper” inserted into his chest to restart his heart.
Today, it’s unclear whether Muamba will return to playing soccer on a competitive level, as he continues to rehab at home with his fiancee and 3-year-old son. But he thanks the lucky presence of a cardiologist near the field for the opportunity to see his family again: “It was pure chance that Dr. Deaner was in the crowd that day. I owe him everything. He is the reason I have been able to hold my baby son again and continue my life.”
Soccer’s cool and all — but coming back from the dead so you can raise your son? That will probably go down as Muamba’s greatest accomplishment. Sadly, not everyone can be so lucky.