LONDON — Fabrice Muamba was “in effect dead” for 78 minutes following his on-field collapse, the Bolton Wanderers club doctor Jonathan Tobin has revealed.
Doctors say it was too early to predict whether he would play football again.
But Tobin said he was amazed by the 23-year-old’s recovery so far.
In an emotional interview, Tobin said: “It was 48 minutes when he collapsed to reaching hospital and a further 30 minutes after that. He was, in effect, dead at that time.”
He added: “We were fearing the worst and didn’t think we would get the recovery we had. It’s incredible.”
Muamba suffered a cardiac arrest in Wanderers’ FA Cup tie against Tottenham Hotspur at White Hart Lane on Saturday.
Tobin told BBC Sport’s Dan Roan how Bolton physio Andy Mitchell was the first to spot the player had collapsed.
The doctor recalled: “He screamed, ‘Get on the pitch, get on the pitch’. It was obvious something major was happening.”
Tobin said Muamba was given two defibrillator shocks on the pitch, one in the players’ tunnel and a further 12 in the ambulance on the way to hospital, but none worked.
The doctor said it was only when medics at London Chest Hospital took over that the situation began to sink in. He added: “I went into the corridor and cried.
“This is Fabrice, not someone who has gone down in the street. I know him, know his family, joke with him every day.”
Tottenham club doctor Shabaaz Mughal was among those who rushed to Muamba’s aid. He said: “He appeared to take a couple of gasps, but was then unresponsive.”
The pair were further helped by Andrew Deaner, Consultant Cardiologist at London Chest Hospital, who was at the game as a fan, and ran on to the pitch to lend his expertise. —BBC Sport