“He is speaking”: Fabrice Muamba utters his first words and recognises family as fellow Premiership stars visit footballer in hospitalBolton Wanderers confirm footballer is breathing independently and responding to questions
The 23-year-old”s heart is beating without the aid of medication
“All your prayers are working,” writes his fiancee Shauna on Twitter
Fabrice Muamba collapsed during Tottenham Hotspur v Bolton FA Cup tieDoctors spent TWO HOURS battling to restart footballer”s heartConsultant cardiologist who was at the game raced down from the stands to help try and resuscitate the footballerBolton chiefs consider pulling team out of the FA Cup to avoid returning to Tottenham where Muamba collapsedLiam Stacey, 21, admitted posting offensive remarks about Muamba on Twitter

Fabrice Muamba can breathe independently, recognise family members and respond to questions, his club Bolton said last night.

The statement came as a friend also claimed the Premier League player had spoken again.

Curtis Codrington said he had been visiting Muamba in intensive care and told reporters his friend had spoken ‘minimal words in English and French, which is better than nothing’.

Doctors at the London Chest Hospital meanwhile said that although the ‘small signs of improvement’ were welcome, they were acutely aware of the risks of being over-optimistic.

 

Respects: Ashley Cole (right), Shaun Wright-Phillips (left) and another man arrive at the London Chest Hospital today to visit Fabrice Muamba who has seen his condition improve slightly in the last 24 hours

Respects: Ashley Cole (right), Shaun Wright-Phillips (left) and another man arrive at the London Chest Hospital today to visit Fabrice Muamba who has seen his condition improve slightly in the last 24 hours

Happy couple: Fabrice Muamba, right, out with his fiancee Shauna who he had recently got engaged to. The couple have a three-year-old son

Happy couple: Fabrice Muamba, right, out with his fiancee Shauna who he had recently got engaged to. The couple have a three-year-old son

They said his heart was beating without medication and he was also moving his arms and his legs.

But at this stage it was hard to tell if the movements were triggered by an ‘irritable brain’ that has been irrevocably damaged or, hopefully, in response to carefully applied stimuli. Cardiologists say the long-term outlook would remain unclear for some time.

The 23-year-old”s fiancee, Shauna Magunda, wrote on Twitter: “All your prayers are workingpeople thank u so so much. Every prayer makes him stronger. To God be the glory.”

A joint statement from the club and Barts and The London NHS Trust said: “Fabrice Muamba remains in intensive care at the London Chest Hospital. He is continuing to show signs of improvement this evening.

“He is currently able to breathe independently without the aid of a ventilator. He has also been able to recognise family members and respond to questions appropriately.

“These are all positive signs of progress. However, his condition remains serious and our medical staff in intensive care will continue to monitor and treat him.”

The footballer suffered a heart attack on the pitch during his team”s FA Cup quarter-final with Tottenham Hotspur at White Hart Lane on Saturday.

He was put in an artificially induced coma and his fiancee is keeping a 24-hour bedside vigil.

Doctors battled for two hours to get Muamba”s heart pumping again.

His heart is believed to have stopped altogether for seven minutes, sparking fears that he could have suffered brain damage because of a lack of oxygen.

The footballer”s life may have been saved by a consultant cardiologist who was at the FA Cup quarter-final.

Tottenham fan Dr Andrew Deaner, who works at the London Chest Hospital, went onto the pitch and helped treat the player before he was rushed to hospital.

Fabrice Muamba of Arsenal poses with Diego Maradona at the Amsterdam Tournament match between Arsenal and FC Porto at Ajax Arena on July 31, 2005 Fabrice Muamba and his girlfriend Shauna

Fight: Fabrice Muamba, left with Diego Maradona in 2005, and, right, with his fiancee at a party last year

Happy times: Bolton Wanderers midfielder in a picture he posted on Twitter last month. He is in a critical condition today after collapsing on the pitch on Saturday

Happy times: Bolton Wanderers midfielder in a picture he posted on Twitter last month. He is in a critical condition today after collapsing on the pitch on Saturday

Earlier Chelsea and England star Ashley Cole turned up at the hospital to show his support for the Bolton midfielder.

Though Muamba”s sudden illness inspired a huge outpouring of support from fans and fellow footballers, a few social network users took the opportunity to gloat, sending out racist and malicious messages via Twitter.

Swansea University student Liam Stacey, 21, today pleaded guilty to inciting racial hatred after writing ‘LOL [Laugh out loud]. **** Muamba. He’s dead!!! #haha.”

Stacey, from Pontypridd, south Wales, was warned he could face jail when he is sentenced next week – and was told he must stay off Twitter and other social networking websites as a condition of being released on bail.

His messages are a stark contrast to the tributes flooding in from the football community, with “Pray for Muamba” trending yesterday on Twitter.

Battle: Fabrice Muamba and his Bolton teammate David Wheater on a mat together as Olympic judo expert Sarah Clark assesses their

Battle: Fabrice Muamba and his Bolton teammate David Wheater on a mat together as Olympic judo expert Sarah Clark assesses their “skills”. The photo was taken as the players visited a Bolton Muslim girls school

Romance: Fabrice Muamba proposed to his girlfriend Shauna Magunda on Valentines Day

Romance: Fabrice Muamba proposed to his girlfriend Shauna Magunda on Valentines Day

WHAT CAUSED STAR TO COLLAPSE

There are several possible causes of Fabrice Muamba’s cardiac arrest.

The one which most commonly kills young athletes is hypertrophic cardiomyopathy.

Agenetic defect, it causes part of the heart muscle to thicken in about one in 500 people. It is most serious in the young and is exacerbated byexercise.

In some countries, such as Italy, screening for this condition is mandatory for footballers and sufferers are not allowed to play. But in Britain it is up to individual clubs.

AlthoughMuamba’s heart was eventually restarted, the major concern now is that just a few minutes without blood pumping to the brain could have caused brain damage.

Patients are usually put into a medically induced coma using anaesthetic and their body temperature is drastically reduced for about 24 hours, which can prevent brain damage developing.

Other,less common possible causes of sudden cardiac arrest include ARVD, another disorder of the heart muscle which causes part of it to turn to fat; faults with the heart’s electrical impulses; irregular rhythms; or defective heart valves.

Tonight the entire Sunderland squad visited a vigil site that has been set up at Bolton”s Reebok Stadium. Players laid a shirt next to flowers and written tributes ahead of their game against Blackburn tomorrow.

David Beckham sent a message of support from the U.S., Bolton manager Owen Coyle said today.

Coyle said: “David Beckham has sent a message from across the Atlantic and it shows what opinion people have of Fabrice as a man, not just as a footballer.

“Hopefully that will bring him along.”

Just moments before, Arsenal player Johan Djourou also turned up at the hospital.

Yesterday Fabrice Muamba”s fiancee, Shauna, who is mother to his three-year-old son, Joshua, tweeted: ‘God is in control. Please keep [Fabrice] in your prayers.’

The 27-year-old, who runs a successful Caribbean food catering business and got engaged to the footballer on Valentine’s Day, later added: ‘Please keep praying for [Fabrice] – it’s really helping, I can feel it. xx’

Bolton may now withdraw from the FA Cup to avoid a harrowing return to Tottenham in a rescheduled match.

The game was called off soon after Muamba collapsed at 6.11pm.

If the game is axed, Tottenham would go into a semi-final against Chelsea at Wembley. Bolton would not be penalised if they decide to withdraw.

A source close to Bolton told the Daily Mirror: “This is a group of young men, just kids really. How could they cope with going back to Spurs and going through it all again”

Bolton’s next match is the relegation six-pointer against Lancashire rivals Blackburn this Saturday, although it may also be under threat.

They have already called off an away game at Aston Villa tomorrow.

Manager Owen Coyle today said Muamba was putting up a “brave fight”.

Coyle said the player”s family had been inundated with messages of support following his collapse.

“The message is the good will, the prayers from everybody, they are so thankful and they want to put that on record – to say “keep up the prayers, thanks for all the support”,” he said.

“They have been inundated as we all have, both in the football community globally and family and friends. People are taking a genuine interest and a real concern with how Fabrice is doing.”

He added: “We all know he”s such a wonderful lad, he”s a young man and we all hope that will help in this brave fight which he is undergoing at the moment.

“It”s a difficult situation but the family are bearing up as well as they can. They themselves are very positive people.

“You look at what Fabrice has been through in life already and you can tell that he is a fighter.

TOTTENHAM FAN STEPPED IN TO SAVE MUAMBA AFTER COLLAPSE
Consultant cardiologist: Andrew Deaner helped to save Muamba

A Tottenham supporter helped to save the life of Fabrice Muamba after he collapsed on the pitch.

Dr Andrew Deaner was in the stands watching Spurs play Bolton when the 23-year-old England under 21 international collapsed.

He rushed down to the pitch and directed paramedics as they battled to save the footballer. Today he remains critically ill at hospital.

Dr Deaner is a father-of-three and a keen cyclist. He graduated from the Leeds University School of Medicine in 1987 and now works in NHS and private hospitals in London and Essex.

He treats patients with all types of cardiac disease, including those with coronary artery disease and people who have suffered angina, heart attack and cardiac arrest.

He is also an expert in pacemakers as well having a special interest in heart disease in pregnancy.

Heavily involved in the training of junior doctors, the Spurs fan is chair of the Specialist Training Committee in General Medicine for the north Thames region and a member of the British Cardiovascular Society and the British Cardiovascular Intervention Society.

Furthermore, Dr Deaner holds the post of secretary of the Cardiology Council of the Royal Society of Medicine.
As well as his position at the NHS London Chest Hospital, Dr Deaner is a consultant cardiologist at Spire Roding and Spire Hartswood private hospitals in Essex.

He is also the clinical lead in cardiology and clinical director for acute medicine at Barking, Havering and Redbridge University Hospitals NHS Trust. This is his main place of work.

In his personal profile for Spire, Dr Deaner writes: “I was born and brought up in south west Essex.

“I am married with three teenage children, and spend much of my spare time cycling on a Colnago C50 road bike.

“Amongst numerous cycling achievements, I have successfully ridden an amateur stage of the Tour De France on six occasions and have completed the ultra-long distance Paris-Brest-Paris cycle event on two occasions.

“My other interests include travel and the theatre.”

“He has such a fantastic smile and that”s what we all want to see again.”

“When situations like this occur, there is a real strength, a real unity and a real togetherness. As a family they are showing that and again that has been boosted by everybody else”s support,” Coyle said.

Yesterday both Wolves and Manchester United players and their supporters took part in 30 seconds of applause for Muamba ahead of their afternoon Barclays Premier League match at Molineux.

Muamba”s former team-mate Gary Cahill also paid tribute by dedicating his goal for Chelsea in the FA Cup against Leicester at Stamford Bridge to the footballer.

The young father collapsed with several minutes remaining in the first half of Saturday”s match.

Players also rushed to Muamba”s aid and looked on in horror as medics worked to resuscitate the former England Under-21 star in front of a packed crowd of 36,000 fans.

Shock: Bolton manager Owen Coyle (left) walks alongside the stretcher as medical staff attend to Fabrice Muamba. Leading the way, right, is Dr Andrew Deaner, a consultant cardiologist who happened to be at the game

Shock:Bolton manager Owen Coyle (left) walks alongside the stretcher as medical staff attend to Fabrice Muamba. Leading the way, right, is Tottenham fan Dr Andrew Deaner, a consultant cardiologist who came down from the stands to help resuscitate the player

Support: Bolton manager Owen Coyle arrives at the London Chest Hospital today, followed by chairman Phil Gartside, as Fabrice Muamba continues to fight for life

Support: Bolton manager Owen Coyle arrives at the London Chest Hospital today, followed by chairman Phil Gartside, as Fabrice Muamba continues to fight for life

He received prolonged resuscitation at the ground and while on route to The London Chest Hospital, where his heart eventually started working.

Under new NHS guidelines emergency heart cases are immediately routed directly to a number of specialist hospitals across the capital, where consultant cardiologists are on duty round the clock.

Muamba”s fiancee Shauna and his family attended the hospital but it is not known if his son Joshua has been to see him.

Tottenham striker Jermain Defoe has also visited the hospital. He was one of the most visibly upset players on the pitch following Muamba”s collapse.

Defoe, who has known the Bolton star since they were children, arrived at The London Chest Hospital in Bethnal Green with his mother at 2.45pm.

He left 15 minutes later, but declined to say anything to reporters as he walked off the hospital premises.

Earlier Defoe tweeted: “Pray for Fab, God willing he will pull through. #PrayForMuamba”.

After Muamba fell to the ground on the pitch, Coyle shouted “he”s just collapsed” before running across to join the paramedics.

Players gathered and a defibrillator was used on the star, who has also played for Arsenal and Birmingham.

Muamba, who was born in the Democratic Republic of Congo, formerly Zaire, was taken off on a stretcher as fans held their heads in their hands, with some in tears.

Referee Howard Webb called off the match after the incident. Reporters at the scene said the player had stopped breathing.

It is understood that Coyle and Bolton striker Kevin Davies accompanied Muamba in the ambulance to the London Chest Hospital in Bethnal Green, east London.

Phil Brown, former assistant manager at Bolton Wanderers, who witnessed Muamba”s collapse, described the scenes as “alarming”.

He said spectators go to a match with “high level of expectancy” and expect to see players “at the peak of their profession”.

“Brave fight”: Bolton manager Owen Coyle today thanks wellwishers for supporting Muamba as he speaks outside the hospital where the player is being treated

Manchester United

Cahill, right, celebrates after his goal which he later said was for Muamba

Dedication: Chelsea player Gary Cahill, right, a former teammate of Muamba, celebrates after scoring for the Blues in a 5-2 win over Leicester yesterday. He dedicated his goal to the England u21 player who is in hospital

TOTTENHAM STARS DEMAND HEART CHECKS AFTER WITNESSING MUAMBA COLLAPSE

The Tottenham squad have demanded heart screenings after seeing Bolton”s Fabrice Muamba collapse during their FA Cup match.

Specialist sports cardiologist Sanjay Sharma says “one or two players” are due to be tested by him today but the entire squad want to be examined.

Muambais still fighting for his life in intensive care in a critical condition after suddenly collapsing during Saturday”s abandoned FA Cup match at Tottenham.

Mr Sharma told Sky News television that “these cardiac arrests in young people are very rare, they affect about one in 50,000 people.”

The leading sport cardiologist says the examinations for the Tottenham squad will look for any heart muscle damage.

He told the Independent he that Muamba”s collapse “surprised” him.

Hesaid: “I am surprised the heart problem was not picked up. The medical screening these players get is extremely comprehensive.

“It will identify 80 per cent of conditions causing sudden death.”

Mr Brown told BBC Breakfast: “If you witness something like we witnessed last night it takes it to the other end of the spectrum. It”s very hard to believe what you”re seeing in front of your own eyes.”

“Thereare a lot of religious players and to see them all almost crouching down and dropping to their knees and praying, it was quite shocking, to tell you the truth.”

Discussing the checks that players are subjected to, he said: “The screening processes that we use at the top level should be and can be sufficient to try and eradicate this, but there”s that side of life you just can”t cater for. You just don”t know when it”s going to happen.”

“You have to pay tribute to the Spurs fans and you have to pay tribute to the actual players for what went on last night in the footballing world. A lot of people don”t think footballers are human but I witnessed that last night. It was first class.”

Dr Jonathan Hill, a consultant cardiologist at King”s College Hospital London added: “Premier League footballers get the best heart checks and screening possible but events can happen that can”t be picked up at screening.

“They spend about two days testing the heart when a player has a full medical. Everything is extremely thorough.

“Sportsmen aren”t necessarily immune from heart disorders. Fabrice Muamba was probably just unlucky. You can develop a problem with the heart out of the blue. And no one is really to blame for such events.”

Muamba was standing alone on the pitch when he collapsed. As a message was relayed around the stadium that the game had been called off, the fans applauded and chanted Muamba”s name.

The scenes recalled memories of Cameroon”s Marc Vivien-Foe, who collapsed and died during a Confederations Cup match in 2003.

Concerned: Tottenham Hotspur and England star Jermain Defoe arrives with his mother Sandra St Helen at the London Chest Hospital today to visit Fabrice Muamba

Concerned: Tottenham Hotspur and England star Jermain Defoe arrives with his mother Sandra St Helen at the London Chest Hospital today to visit Fabrice Muamba

A man lays a scarf alongside football shirts and flowers left outside the Reebok Stadium in Bolton, north-west England following the news that Fabrice Muamba collapsed during an FA Cup game

A man lays a scarf alongside football shirts and flowers left outside the Reebok Stadium in Bolton, north-west England following the news that Fabrice Muamba collapsed during an FA Cup game

Get well soon Fabrice: Flowers, a Fulham shirt with a handwritten message and a picture of Bolton star Muamba are left outside the London Chest Hospital where he is being treated

Get well soon Fabrice: Flowers, a Fulham shirt with a handwritten message and a picture of Bolton star Muamba are left outside the London Chest Hospital where he is being treated

The Bolton Wanderers midfielder collapsed during the game while horrified fans looked on The Hewitt family urge Muamba to get well by leaving a shirt outside the stadium

Fans urge the player to get well with cards and flowers. A jersey signed by the Hewitt family was also left outside the stadium

Tributes: Fans leave shirts with messages of support at Bolton

Upsetting: Gareth Bale, of Tottenham Hotspur, consoles teammate Jermain Defoe after Fabrice Muamba is taken off on a stretcher, still unconscious after receiving CPR treatment on the pitch

Upsetting: Gareth Bale, of Tottenham Hotspur, consoles teammate Jermain Defoe after Fabrice Muamba is taken off on a stretcher, still unconscious after receiving CPR treatment on the pitch

Dreadful scenes: Bolton

Football star: Fabrice Muamba on the ball for England under 21s during the European Championship final against Germany three years ago

Football star: Fabrice Muamba on the ball for England under 21s during the European Championship final against Germany three years ago

Tottenham Tottenham Hotspur

Concern: Tottenham”s Jermaine Defoe is consoled on the pitch by Gareth Bale, left. In the image on the right, Tottenham”s Benoit Assou-Ekotto, left, William Gallas, Carlo Cudicini and Bolton manager Owen Coyle look on

Anxious time: Football fans looked on in horror as the player was treated by medics on the pitch

Anxious time: Football fans looked on in horror as the player was treated by medics on the pitch

Hope: Tottenham player Rafael van der Vaart prays on the pitch for Fabrice Muamba

Hope: Tottenham player Rafael van der Vaart prays on the pitch for Fabrice Muamba

Distraught: Tottenham players console each other after Fabrice Muamba is taken from the pitch

Distraught: Tottenham players console each other after Fabrice Muamba is taken from the pitch

Struggling: England striker Jermain Defoe was one of the most visibly upset players

Struggling: England striker Jermain Defoe was one of the most visibly upset players

Heartbreaking: Bolton

FOOTBALL UNITES IN CONCERN FOR POPULAR PLAYER AFTER COLLAPSE
Worried: England and Manchester United star Wayne Rooney took to Twitter to wish Fabrice Muamba all the best following his collapse

Worried: England and Manchester United star Wayne Rooney took to Twitter to wish Fabrice Muamba all the best following his collapse

Fabrice Muamba”s collapse on the pitch was witnessed not only by a crowd of 36,000 people but also a television audience.

Following the upsetting scenes, a number of footballers took to Twitter to wish the popular player the best.

Here are a selection of their comments.

Arsenal and England midfielder Jack Wilshere: “Hope Muamba is okay. Thoughts with him.”

Manchester United star Rio Ferdinand: “Come on Fabrice Muamba, praying for you.”

Muamba”s Bolton team-mate, Stuart Holden: “Praying for you Fab. Hope he”s OK. Thoughts with him and his family.”

Middlesbroughdefender Justin Hoyte: “I seriously hope my best friend in football is OK. Staystrong bro please please stay strong. God is with you remember that.”

Tottenham midfielder Tom Huddlestone: “Thoughts with Fab and his family. Feel sick watching this, puts football and everything else into perspective.”

England striker Wayne Rooney: “Hope fabrice muamba is ok. Praying for him and his family. Still in shock.”

TheFootball Association: “Our thoughts and prayers are with Fabrice Muamba and his family right now. A wonderful person.”

Tottenham player Rafael van der Vaart: “Terrible what happened with Muamba during the game. We”re all praying for him.”

Tottenham player Emmanuel Adebayor: “My thoughts are with Fabrice Muamba”s family. We all arepraying for him and hope for a speedy recovery.”

Twitter tributes for the footballer have been pouring in with many people urging him to get better

Twitter tributes for the footballer have been pouring in with many people urging him to get better

Talented: Fabrice Muamba runs with the ball during the match between Tottenham Hotspur and Bolton Wanderers shortly before he collapsed Awful: Bolton midfielder Fabrice Muamba collapsed with several minutes remaining in the first half of the FA Cup tie between Tottenham Hotspur and Bolton today

Shocking: Fabrice Muamba can be seen running with the ball, left, during Saturday”s game shortly before he collapsed. Right, the 23-year-old lies on the ground immediately after collapsing

AN EXTREMELY TALENTED PLAYER WITH A DREAM TO EARN A DOCTORATE
Star: Fabrice Muamba can be seen here playing for England under-21

Fabrice Ndala Muamba is a talented player with a dream to one day earn a doctorate.

The 23-year-old Bolton Wanderers midfielder was born in the Democratic Republic of Congo, then known as Zaire, before his family fled to the UK.

Born on April 6 1988, Muamba grew up in country”s capital Kinshasa. to the sound of gunshots.

His father, Marcel, worked for the regime of former Zaire president Mobutu Sese Seko, who was overthrown in 1997.

Hunted by anti-Mobutu forces during one of the bloodiest civil wars in modern history, Marcel was forced to flee the country.

His wife, Gertrude, and four children were taken in by his brother. However, they too had to leave when Muamba”s uncle was killed.

In 2008 he told the Daily Mail: “It was very, very tough. I saw the war. I saw people die. I grew up with it. It was scary.

“I didn”t live far from the gunshots and the sound of them going off. It was difficult to get used to, especially hearing guns at night. It did have an effect on me.

“It stopped us going out to play football because we were scared we would get killed. One or two of my friends were hurt, one or two of them have since died.”

Muamba was granted asylum in the UK in 1999. Coming to a new country as an 11-year-old, he could not speak a word of English.

However, the intelligent youngster quickly picked up the language and excelled at school.

He attended Kelmscott School in Walthamstow, north-east London – just three miles away from White Hart Lane, where he collapsed during tonight”s FA Cup tie against Tottenham.

He had ambitions to one day become an accountant and be referred to as “Dr Muamba”.

Muamba has more qualifications than any of his teammates in the Bolton dressing room, having earned 10 GCSEs as well as A-levels in French, maths and English.

A tall man at 6ft 2in, his passions off the pitch include listening to opera music, academia and spending time with his son, Joshua Jeremiah.

The player is also said to be deeply religious. He also represented England at every youth level.