Astonishing! Coyle hails Muamba but admits it will be tough to focus on football
11:48 GMT, 22 March 2012
Bolton manager Owen Coyle has admitted he is 'astonished' by the progress made by Fabrice Muamba in the few days since the player suffered a cardiac arrest, but revealed he is finding hard to shift focus back to football.
The Trotters are preparing to return to action for the first time this weekend against Blackburn having postponed Tuesday's meeting with Aston Villa.
It comes after an incredible few days in which Muamba has gone being 'dead for 78 minutes' to laughing and joking with friends, family and team-mates.
Shifting focus: Bolton boss Owen Coyle has only just returned to Lancashire after ensuring Fabrice Muamba's condition was continuing to improve
Boss Coyle has earned enormous credit for the way he has handled himself throughout the trauma, only returning to Lancashire with the blessing of Muamba's doctors and family.
However, he revealed he had not slept on Sunday night as Muamba faced the most important part of his recovery.
'Monday was a big day,' said Coyle. 'The hospital had cooled him down to try help him and on Monday morning at 8am, they started to warm him back up again.
'That is when Fabrice had to kick in and do things of his own accord to have any chance. He did because we know the fighter he is and how strong he is. The way he came through that was incredible. Monday was an unbelievable day.
'We are all astonished with how far he has come. But we have to stress he is still in intensive care and he is still seriously ill. He has a long way to go.
Support: Bolton fans posted more messages for Muamba at the Reebok Stadium
Favourite: Dozens of messages were scribbled on this poster of the stadium
'But what has happened is encouraging and we have to keep that in our thoughts.'
While the England Under 21 midfielder will remain in the minds of all those close to him, Coyle must attempt to rally his troops for what is a key game on Saturday.
He admits, though, that it will be difficult.
He added: 'You don’t move on. We have a game to play and we have to go and play it. Will it be difficult Absolutely. Our thoughts are still with Fabrice Muamba.'
Muamba is still in intensive care at the London Chest Hospital and was visited by a number of his team-mates on Tuesday.
Coyle has told any of them who do not feel up to playing that they will be excused from this weekend’s fixture.
Life savers: The four doctors who treated Fabrice Muamba – heart specialist Dr Andrew Deaner, consultant cardiologist Dr Sam Mohiddin, Tottenham doctor Shabaaz Mughal and Bolton doctor Jonathan Tobin
Heroes: The four doctors chat outside the London Chest Hospital
'I wouldn’t ask anybody to play who
felt they couldn't,' he said. 'So far, no-one has told me they don’t
want to be involved. There comes a point that we have to play our games
and move forward.'
had extensive conversations with Muamba’s father Marcel and fiancee
Shauna before he left London. And he was left in no doubt the family
wanted Bolton to start playing again.
spoke to them for over an hour and they were adamant, Bolton had to
play their games,' he said. 'Everything does pale into insignificance
alongside Fabrice’s recovery. But we will go out there and do our best.'
FIFA president Sepp Blatter said Muamba's recovery was 'a miracle' which had deeply affected him as it brought back memories of Marc-Vivien Foe of Cameroon who died in similar circumstances in 2003.
Remembered: Marc-Vivien Foe
Foe, who was 28, collapsed and died on the pitch during a Confederations Cup match between Cameroon and Colombia in Lyon, France.
Blatter, speaking during a break while attending the UEFA Congress in Istanbul, said: 'It's a miracle. I had a phone call from Phil Gartside, the chairman of Bolton, and I have to say it was a very emotional call. As he said, from time to time there are forces somewhere that have nothing to do with reality.
'He spoke about the players who stood all around him. He was very emotional, and I was emotional as well because I told him the story of how I brought Foe back to Cameroon, his homeland, how I accompanied him until his funeral.
'When I saw the Muamba incident on the television, it was terrible. His chairman speaks about the miracle and I speak about a miracle as well.
'I am a deeply faithful man, a religious man, and I believe there is something more than just playing the game; there is somebody who looks after us.'
Following Foe's death FIFA began moves to encourage clubs to introduce regular heart screening for their players and while this is now widespread, Blatter said more could still be done.
'I know this player had heart screening last year and it should be done for everyone, in repetition, but especially for those in competition in football or other sports.
'You know, we have 300 million in the game and in 300 million, something will happen somewhere but the other good thing is that in our game, it is played everywhere so it is always in sunshine, because somewhere the sun is shining and somewhere there is football.'
On Wednesday it emerged that Muamba was
effectively dead for 78 minutes after collapsing towards the end of the
first half of the game, and it took 15
defibrillator shocks – two on the pitch and 13 in the ambulance – to get
his heart beating again.
Backing from the stars: Lionel Messi wears a tribute t-shirt on Tuesday night after Emmanuel Adebayor's visit
Bolton doctor Jonathan Tobin said:
'It was 48 minutes from the time he collapsed to the time he reached the
hospital and it was a further 30 minutes in the hospital they were
working on him without his heart having a muscular beat.
'In effect he
was dead in that time. We were fearing the worst and didn't think we'd
get the recovery we had. It's incredible.'
The player's neurological function is said to be good and he is increasingly able to have conversations.
The 23-year-old has been told what happened to him and that it is too early to say if he will ever play football again.
Muamba's representatives at Key
Sports – in particular his agent Warwick Horton – have also provided
constant support, staying with the family at a nearby hotel while he
remains in intensive care.
Leader: Bolton captain Kevin Davies arrives with his wife and child
Couple: Fabrice Muamba with fiancee Shauna
Dr Tobin added that it was only when
medics at the Chest Hospital took over on Saturday night that the
seriousness of the situation sunk in.
He added: 'I went into the corridor
and cried. This is Fabrice, not someone who has gone down in the street.
I know him, know his family, joke with him every day.'
Spurs fan Dr Deaner was sitting with
his brother when he realised Muamba's problem involved his heart.
recalled: 'I turned to my brother and said, “They're doing CPR. I should
go and help”. Something sort of told me I should go down. Looking back,
it wouldn't have been surprising if the guys there had said, “Go away,
we don't need anybody else”.'
'He's made a remarkable recovery so
far. We don't want to get ahead of ourselves. As things stand, I think
his life is not in danger at this time. His neurological function is
looking very good but it is early days.'
Dr Deaner, meanwhile, recounted an exchange that indicated just how remarkable Muamba's recovery has been.
He said: 'I whispered into his ear,
“What's your name” He replied and I said, “I understand you're a very
good footballer”. And he said, “I try”.'
Coyle said on Wednesday: 'We spoke together with the players as a group this morning and I talked with Fabrice's family.
'His father, Marcel, and his fiancee,
Shauna, were keen that we fulfil our fixtures. Once the players knew
this, there was no doubt in our mind that we would play the matches.'
Tribute: The football world continues to show their support for the stricken star
Shock: Owen Coyle and players from both sides show their concern for Fabrice Muamba
Comfort: Gareth Bale gives Jermain Defoe – a close friend of Muamba's – a show of support