Fabrice Muamba’s father and fiancée thanked the global football community yesterday for their support since the player’s cardiac arrest and said God had answered their prayers.
The Bolton footballer remains in intensive care after collapsing during an FA Cup match with Tottenham last Saturday.
Marcel Muamba and Shauna Magunda expressed their “enormous gratitude” to the Bolton and Tottenham medical teams for their quick reaction and praised the “fantastic team” caring for him at the London Chest Hospital.
Mr Muamba and Ms Magunda said in a statement: “We would like to firstly thank God for answering our prayers. Thank you to everyone for the love, prayers and support over the past few days.
“We have been overwhelmed by all the kind messages we have received. The support we have had from the fans – not just from Bolton but football supporters around the world – has given us so much strength.
“We have been particularly touched by the support from the football community globally.”
They also thanked their family and close friends, urging everyone to “keep him in your prayers”.
They said: “Even though Fabrice has made great progress over the last couple of days, he is still in intensive care, and still has a long period of recovery ahead.”
The family’s words of gratitude came after doctors revealed this week that the Congo-born player had in effect been dead for almost 80 minutes following his collapse, while his heart had no muscular beat and he failed to breathe.
Consultant cardiologist Andrew Deaner, who left his seat in the crowd and went on to the pitch to help the 23-year-old, described the recovery he had made so far as “miraculous”. The midfielder has been talking and even showing signs of his sense of humour returning, he said.
Tottenham medic Jonathan Tobin said the player had told him on Tuesday that he was “fine”.
Doctors could not say whether Muamba would be able to play professional football again and were reluctant to predict a timetable for his recovery, which remains in the early stages.
There has been a huge outpouring of support for the player among football supporters since the incident brought the game to a halt at White Hart Lane last weekend.