Tottenham manager Harry Redknapp has offered his support to Fabrice Muamba and praised the decision to call off yesterday’s FA Cup quarter-final against Bolton.
Referee Howard Webb ended the match after 41 minutes after Muamba collapsed to the White Hart Lane pitch after suffering a cardiac arrest.
The 23-year-old received prolonged resuscitation on the pitch and in an ambulance en route to the London Chest Hospital where he remains in a critical condition.
Paramedics could not get Muamba’s heart beating on its own for almost two hours.
A statement from the hospital and Bolton this morning also revealed Muamba, who is a father of one, would remain “anaesthetised in intensive care and will be for at least 24 hours”.
The news has rocked the football world with Redknapp, who was standing on the touchline when Muamba collapsed, saying: “All our thoughts are with Fabrice, his family, (Bolton boss) Owen Coyle and the club.
“It was the right decision to abandon the game, everybody was in a state of shock and it wouldn’t have been right to carry on.
“Football is the last thing on anyone’s mind when an awful situation such as this happens. All we are thinking about now is Fabrice and his family.”
The medical staff at White Hart Lane have been praised for the speed in which they tended to Muamba, while both sets of fans chanted his name as he received treatment on the pitch.
“We are immensely proud and grateful to the medical teams at both clubs, their response was immediate and professional,” Spurs chairman Daniel Levy said.
“Our thanks also to both sets of fans for their support and behaviour. Too often we read the negatives about football and yet last night, at a time of intense emergency and uncertainty, we saw the true humanity and empathy of the footballing family.”
He added: “Our thoughts are with Fabrice’s family and Bolton Wanderers and we are all willing him to pull through. Events such as this put everything into perspective.”
Muamba’s former manager Steve Bruce admitted his shock after describing the midfielder as one of the fittest players he had ever managed.
Bruce signed Muamba for Birmingham from Arsenal in 2007,
“He had a fierce determination,” Bruce told Radio Five Live’s Sportsweek programme.
“He was as good as I’ve ever had in being able to get up and down the pitch. His fitness levels and the energy he brought to the team are quite remarkable.
“That’s the unbelievable thing. He was a supremely fit young athlete.
“He’s a tremendous lad. His greatest strength is his humbleness.
“It’s quite unbelievable what has happened in the last 24 hours.”
Worried fans and players took to Twitter to give their reaction to Muamba’s collapse.
Middlesbrough defender Justin Hoyte, who came through the Arsenal youth team with Muamba, posted: “I seriously hope my best friend in football is OK. Stay strong bro please please stay strong. God is with you remember that.”
Muamba’s Bolton team-mate Stuart Holden wrote: “Praying for you Fab. Hope he’s OK. Thoughts with him and his family.”
Former Bolton boss Sam Allardyce, now at West Ham, relived a similar experience while he was also in charge of the Trotters in a Carling Cup tie with Spurs.
Senegal international Khalilou Fadiga collapsed prior to the match at the Reebok Stadium.
“He was diagnosed with a heart defect. He had a procedure that had said this heart defect had been rectified,” Allardyce said.
“Unfortunately for us we had this experience where Kally collapsed in the warm-up before the game and his heart had actually stopped. I can remember it vividly.
“They had to ‘defib’ him there and then and get the heart re-started.
“Of course that was done expertly well by the medical staff and the doctor at Bolton.”
Allardyce said Fadiga was able to play again, adding: “He was then taken to hospital and monitored and eventually he was fitted with a portable defibrillator, which was fitted under the chest bone so if he wanted to start playing football again, which he did.
“At Bolton he played a couple of games but then I think he went back to France and played there as well as Belgium. And now he is all fit and well.”
More on this story in Sports Monday...