Muamba marks his birthday with more steps on the road to recovery

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Footballer Fabrice Muamba celebrated his 24th birthday yesterday as he continued to make “strong and steady improvements” in his recovery from a cardiac arrest.

The midfielder collapsed on the pitch in the first half of Bolton’s FA Cup quarter-final at Tottenham Hotspur on 17 March, with the game subsequently abandoned.

The former England under-21 international received treatment on the field before being carried off on a stretcher and taken to the London Chest Hospital. It took 78 minutes for his heart to start working on its own again.

Bolton boss Owen Coyle confirmed yesterday that the player had been on his feet and walking around the corridors of the intensive care unit where he has been treated.

On the day Muamba turned 24, a joint statement from the club, Barts and the London NHS Trust said: “Fabrice Muamba continues to make strong and steady improvements and remains in the intensive care unit of the London Chest Hospital.”

Coyle said: “He has done some short periods of walking down the corridor.

“He is taking steps, talking and has that big smile which we love to see, so he is certainly progressing the right way.”

He added: “A couple of players have been sending him messages and we are keeping in touch. It has been great to see that smile and he continues to get better.

“We have to stress that he still has a long way to go, but the improvement has been remarkable and long may that continue.”