BOLTON Wanderers midfielder Fabrice Muamba was last night “critically ill” in intensive care at the heart attack centre of the London Chest Hospital.
Muamba collapsed in the 41st minute of Bolton’s FA Cup quarter-final against Tottenham, with the match abandoned after the player received treatment on the pitch.
He was rushed to hospital and the club released a statement which read: “Bolton Wanderers can confirm that Fabrice Muamba has been admitted to the heart attack centre at London Chest hospital where he is currently in a critically ill condition in intensive care.
“No further information will be issued at this stage. The club has requested the media to respect his family’s privacy at this time.”
With the score 1-1 after 41 minutes and with no-one near him, 23-year-old Muamba suddenly collapsed and lay with his face down on the turf.
Players from both teams immediately called for medical assistance and paramedics and doctors rushed on to the pitch to try to resuscitate the midfielder. The England under-21 international underwent six minutes of treatment amid worrying scenes. Medical staff gave him mouth-to-mouth resuscitation and tried to revive him with a defibrillator. He was then rushed to hospital wearing an oxygen mask.
Within a second of seeing Muamba fall to the ground, Bolton manager Owen Coyle shouted “he’s just collapsed” before running on to the pitch to be alongside his player. Both sets of fans chanted the player’s name as he was being treated and Tottenham forward Rafael van der Vaart and Muamba’s team-mate Tuncay Sanli both prayed for the former Arsenal player on the pitch. Some fans cried at the sight of seeing a player out cold on the pitch.
Referee Howard Webb abandoned the match moments later.
It is understood Coyle and Bolton’s striker Kevin Davies accompanied Muamba to the hospital. Worried fans and players took to Twitter to give their reaction.
Muamba’s Bolton team-mate Stuart Holden wrote: “Praying for you Fab. Hope he’s OK. Thoughts with him and his family.” Spurs striker Jermain Defoe said: “Pray for fab god willing he will pull through.”
Muamba started his career at Arsenal and spent two years at Birmingham before joining Bolton in 2008. He was born in Zaire, now known as the Democratic Republic of Congo, but has represented England from under-16 to under-21 level.
Spurs fan Paul Smith was at the game and spoke of seeing the events unfold. He said: “I, along with around 30,000 other people, have witnessed a great tragedy this evening. Bearing in mind that the lad was given resuscitation on the pitch, we fear the worst. It puts everything else into perspective and the thoughts of all Spurs fans are with him and his family.
“I was in the north upper stand but everyone saw the urgency of the situation. He was just laying face down on the pitch.”
Football Association chairman David Bernstein said: “On behalf of the FA, I would like to send our thoughts and prayers to Fabrice Muamba and his family this evening. Fabrice has played 33 times for England under-21s, captaining Stuart Pearce’s side during this time, and is a player, and more importantly, a person we care greatly for.”
Bolton had taken the lead after six minutes when Darren Pratley’s header flew in off Gareth Bale’s shoulder. Tottenham equalised five minutes later through Kyle Walker. Half an hour later Muamba collapsed and the game was abandoned.