Heart specialist doubts if Muamba will be able to play football again
21:25 GMT, 27 March 2012
A leading heart specialist has cast doubts on whether Bolton midfielder Fabrice Muamba will ever play professional football again.
Peter Weissberg, the Medical Director of the British Heart Foundation, believes Muamba's sudden collapse means he can never truly be cleared to compete in the future – even if he makes a full recovery.
Former England Under-21 international Fabrice Muamba was rushed to hospital after collapsing during the FA Cup quarter-final against Tottenham at White Hart Lane earlier in the month.
Return: A heart specialist says Fabrice Muamba (left) is likely to be advised not to play again
With 41 minutes of the game gone, with no-one near him, 23-year-old Muamba suddenly collapsed to the floor and lay with his face down on the turf. It was later confirmed he had suffered a heart attack.
Weissberg now believes it would be difficult for the former Arsenal youngster to make a comeback.
He said: 'It is not possible to say but I think it is likely he would be advised not to play again because most conditions like this are a combination of physical activity and an underlying tendency to have a cardiac arrest.'
Bolton's team doctor Jonathan Tobin confirmed Muamba's heart stopped for 80 minutes and Weissberg praised the fast-acting medics present at the time.
'I'm impressed (with the response) but you would expect that at a Premier League football ground,' he said.
'(It was) a fantastic example of a well-trained team recognising first of all what was wrong and then moving into action and doing something very, very quickly about it.'
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Since the incident there have been calls from many quarters of the game to enhance player screenings in an attempt to eradicate such issues arising, something Weissberg believes is almost impossible.
He said: 'It will happen from time to time and the reason for that is, as doctors, we can not yet predict with total accuracy those players who might have an underlying heart problem.
'I'm afraid the technology is not good enough yet to identify the really, really subtle heart conditions which just aren't apparent until someone keels over.'
Weissberg did suggest solutions which could be in place to help Muamba if he were to suffer a similar attack in the future, but that it does not mean he should be making a return to the pitch.
No division: Tottenham supporters display a banner with Muamba's name
'With people like Fabrice we can put in a defibrillator inside the body,' he said.
'But I repeat, I think it is unlikely he would be advised to play football again even though he may be fit and healthy to do so.'
Muamba is currently recovering at the London Chest Hospital and has already surprised doctors with the speed of his progress.
The FA Cup match was rearranged and the midweek Barclays Premier League fixture against Aston Villa that was due to follow the tie was also postponed.
Bolton did play at the weekend and the club and it's supporters gave a moving tribute to Muamba before collecting a vital three points from Blackburn as they look to avoid relegation come May.