Fabrice Muamba, the 24-year-old football star who survived a cardiac arrest during a live match, has been awarded an honorary degree by the University of Bolton. The Bolton Wanderers midfielder collected his certificate on Friday this past week dressed in a formal suit and colourful graduate’s robes. Muamba dedicated the degree to the medics who saved his life when he suffered a potentially fatal heart attack in March during the Wanderers’ face-off with Tottenham Hotspurs, also known simply as Spurs.
During the first half of the FA Cup quarter-final match, Muamba, who was previously of very good health, suddenly collapsed onto the pitch just before the half-time whistle. Players from both teams as well as on-site medical staff immediately rushed to his aid. Millions of TV viewers watched with horror and shock as Muamba was turned onto his side and put into the recovery position by the specialists.
His heart stopped for nearly eighty minutes as staff frantically tried to revive him. Doctors there attempted a total of fifteen shocks and mouth-to-mouth resuscitation, but by that time, Muamba was clinically dead. He was immediately taken by ambulance to the London Chest Hospital where he was placed in an induced coma to limit the damage to his vital organs. A specialist team led by doctors Andrew Deaner and Sam Mohiddin of the Barts Health NHS Trust immediately began operating on the footballer. He was fitted with a defibrillator which will keep his heart beating in the event of a second attack. Within a week, Muamba had regained consciousness and was discharged one month later. He soon happily rejoined his teammates as well as his girlfriend and young son in Wilmslow, east Cheshire.
The graduation ceremony was attended by Muamba’s friends and family, along with many other graduates. While he has yet to take up professional-level football again, Muamba expressed immense gratitude to his supporters and the people who kept him alive during that fateful day, saying “I am very humbled to accept it (the degree) on behalf of all the amazing men and women who combined to save my life – the paramedics and medical teams of Bolton Wanderers and Tottenham, ambulance personnel, and, of course, the consultants, doctors and nurses at the London Chest hospital. My family and I owe them all so much.” He also had praise for his town’s premier seat of learning, which conferred upon him a doctorate of science. Especially he also thanked the millions of people and fellow sportsmen who wished him a speedy recovery. Fabrice Muamba has commented that he is looking forward to making a return to his team’s Reebok Stadium, adding “I really, really hope, by the grace of God, that I’ll be back on the pitch.”