Fabrice Muamba has thanked God for keeping him alive following his cardiac arrest while playing for Bolton in March – saying it is a ‘miracle’ he is still alive.
Muamba, speaking for the first time since his collapse while playing for the Trotters against Spurs in their FA Cup 5th round tie, came close to death after doctors confirmed his heart stopped beating for 78 minutes following his shock collapse.
Released from hospital last week after a month under doctors’ supervision, Muamba now has a three inch scar on his chest where doctors inserted a device to restart his heart should it stop again.
Last week Bolton manager Owen Coyle revealed that Muamba could play in a Bolton shirt again in the future, although he insisted the former Arsenal trainee would not be rushed back.
The 24-year-old believes he has God to thank for helping survive such an ordeal and allowing him to walk out of hospital with the prospect of playing football again in the future,
In an interview with The Sun, Muamba said: "Someone up there was watching over me. What happened to me was really more than a miracle. On the morning of the game I prayed with my father and asked God to protect me - and he didn't let me down. I am walking proof of the power of prayer."
He added: "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. Someone up there was watching over me."
Muamba collapsed after 40 minutes of the game against Spurs, but insisted that prior to that he had felt 'focused’ and ‘particularly fit’ as he tried to help Bolton qualify for the quarter finals of the FA Cup.
"It wasn't normal dizziness - it was a kind of surreal feeling like I was running along inside someone else's body," he said of the build-up to his collapse. "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."
He added: "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."
With a long road to recovery ahead of him, Muamba paid tribute to Dr Andrew Deaner, a cardiologist and Tottenham fan who jumped from the crowd in order to assist the Spurs medical staff, playing a crucial role in helping keep Muamba alive.
"It was pure chance that Dr Deaner was in the crowd that day,” Muamba said. “I owe him everything. He is the reason I have been able to hold my baby son again and continue my life."