Muamba's incredible story

Ex-Bolton player's life has changed dramatically since his on-field collapse

When Fabrice Muamba walked on to the pitch at White Hart Lane on March 17 he had no idea his life was about to change forever. He had no idea that his life was going to end.

Fabrice Muamba and his new book.

The Bolton Wanderers midfielder was fine until the 41st minute when he dramatically collapsed, face-down and dying, in his side's FA Cup quarter-final against Tottenham Hotspur.

The Congo-born England Under-21 international had suffered a cardiac arrest _ despite passing all his previous heart tests with flying colours _ and was effectively dead for 78 minutes.

However, in a story that is stranger than fiction, the 23-year-old managed to be revived just as most of the doctors working on him were minutes from giving up.

Nobody should survive 78 minutes without oxygen. Muamba should be dead.

The fact he isn't has been classed a medical miracle and in his new autobiography, Fabrice Muamba: I'm Still Standing, Muamba explains the incredible turnaround that meant he walked out of the London Chest Hospital a month after his collapse and got on with the rest of his life.

Muamba's luck is frightening. For example, the paramedics on the pitch decided almost instantly that he needed to go to the London Chest Hospital because its specialist staff could help save the footballer's life.

As they were working on his body on the pitch _ Muamba received 15 defibrillator shocks before he got to hospital _ a man who had been at the game as a Tottenham fan came racing on to the pitch from his seat in the stands and screamed that he could offer some help.

His name? Dr Andrew Deaner. And where did he work? The London Chest Hospital _ the very same place Muamba was heading for anyway.

Dr Deaner, along with Bolton doctor Jonathan Tobin, Spurs doctor Shabaaz Mughal and paramedic Peter Fisher worked on Muamba's lifeless body for the next hour before he finally responded.

Despite his incredible recovery, Muamba insists that fortune had nothing to do with his recovery.

"For me there is no such word as luck in the dictionary," he told the Bangkok Post.

"When it happened, the right people were there for me. They did an unbelievable miracle on me. If this could have happened in any place for me, it was a football pitch because I had the right people there to help.

"The ambulance, the doctors and the machine. If it happened to me in my house I don't think we would be having this conversation."

Muamba is, of course, thrilled to be alive and well even if the damage done to his heart during the cardiac arrest meant he had to retire from the game he loves so much. But as far as he is concerned he has nothing to lose in life.

"When you have faced the worst thing imaginable _ dying _ then nothing else can scare you after that," he said.

"I'm completely fearless now. Nothing can scare me. With God on my side, anything is possible."

He doesn't deny that having to retire hurts from time to time but when he thinks about what could have happened back in March he soon stops feeling sorry for himself.

But he would love just one more afternoon on a football field

"If I could do one thing it would be put my boots on and go out training. If I knew that the doctors gave me the all-clear to go out training tomorrow that would be great," he said. "But, hey, there's more to life than football, right?"

Muamba's life has changed forever. He now has fame and will forever be remembered _ perhaps for the wrong reasons. But the incident has also meant he now enjoys every day, something that is constantly repeated in his book, and it is clear that he is only willing to take the positives from his near-death experience.

"Do I have any regrets? I suppose that's the biggest question of the lot," Muamba said. "And the answer is no. You have to move forward. I'm 100 per cent sure that if God wanted me to die I would've done so on that pitch.

"Why wouldn't I have done? Think about it. Who comes back from that? But my survival has convinced me there is a reason for it all _ even if I'm still trying to work that reason out.

"Only the future can tell me. Only the future will make that clear. At the moment, the fact I've got any future at all is enough to make me smile.

"I've done enough dying to last a lifetime."


Fabrice Muamba: I'm Still Standing (US$9.99), Trinity Mirror Sport Media. Available at amazon.com; eBook available from Amazon Kindle, iBookstore and Google Play.

Muamba is treated by medical staff after collapsing during the FA Cup quarter-final match on March 17, 2012.