Just six weeks after Fabrice Muamba, Bolton Wanderers midfielder, collapsed in the middle of a game with a heart problem, he was able to attend a match played by his team on May 2.
As reported by Digital Journal, the 24-year-old suffered a cardiac arrest and his heart stopped beating for 78 minutes. It was only due to the very quick reactions of the medical staff of both teams and the intervention of a cardiologist who was watching the match that Muamba made it to the hospital.
Everyone watching the match either at the ground or on the television were convinced that the young player would not survive, but he was stronger and braver than anyone expected. Whilst messages of support flowed in from around the world, and football teams demonstrated their support for Fabrice, he stunned doctors by his recovery.
Within two days, he was able to move his arms and legs and within a week a Twitter picture of him sitting up in bed smiling was released. He was released from the London Chest hospital on April 16. Finally, on May 2, he was able to attend a match played by his team against Tottenham Hotspur, the team they had been playing when he had collapsed, at the Reebok Stadium. He was received with a tumultuous welcome from thrilled fans of both teams. The BBC reports that he said:
"I'm happy I'm here. It's a special place - anyone who has played for this club will knows that. I'm glad I came today, I really wanted to come and support the boys."
In his first interview since the life changing event he thanked everyone who had supported him, saying that he had received messages from all over the world and that he still had several boxes of messages to go through.
The Evening Standard reports that the player was overcome with emotion at the standing ovation he was given when he walked on to the pitch. He was seen to be crying as supporters of both teams applauded and chanted his name. The paper quotes Bolton manager, Owen Coyle, as saying:
"To see Fabrice here - he came in before the game and it was quite emotional, as you can imagine. We are absolutely delighted with his recovery. That was paramount for Fabrice and his family, I have always said that. It was fantastic to see him and for everyone else to see how he is recovering."
Tottenham Hotspur manager Harry Redknapp said:
"It was fantastic, absolutely brilliant, to see him smiling, to see him alive. It was wonderful. I'll never forget him getting wheeled down that tunnel. It was unbelievable. I really, genuinely, didn't think we'd see him again."
Fabrice Muamba still has a long way to go and is undergoing daily rehabilitation. Whether he will ever be able to play again is uncertain. For the teams and the fans and those watching on television, to see the young player walk out onto the pitch was a true miracle.