Consultant cardiologist Dr Sam Mohiddin has warned people not to expect Fabrice Muamba to make a rapid recovery.
Mohiddin admitted the Bolton midfielder’s progress had been extraordinary since he suffered a cardiac arrest at Tottenham on Saturday evening that meant he effectively died for 78 minutes after his heart stopped beating.
Muamba’s recovery has left Bolton sufficiently uplifted to confirm Saturday’s Premier League encounter with Blackburn at the Reebok Stadium will go ahead, as will the rescheduled FA Cup quarter-final with Spurs next Tuesday.
However, it may be some time before Muamba completes a return to full health.
“Fabrice has continued to demonstrate positive signs of recovery and he has not only exceeded our expectations but also our hopes in the way he’s recovered,” said Dr Mohiddin, who has been in charge of Muamba since his admission to the London Chest Hospital.
“But this remains very early in what could be a lengthy recovery period.”
Memories of the harrowing scenes at White Hart Lane are still fresh.
Medical staff desperately tried to save Muamba’s life on the pitch before he was rushed to hospital, where the 23-year-old has remained.
Muamba was visited by Thierry Henry yesterday afternoon, the latest footballing superstar to express his concern after playing with the former England Under-21 captain during his Arsenal days.
Bolton manager Owen Coyle was set to speak in more depth at a press conference this morning.
However, Bolton team doctor Jonathan Tobin made some startling revelations as he spoke for the first time about the efforts that were made to save Muamba’s life.
After working on Muamba for 48 minutes before his arrival in hospital, Dr Tobin confirmed the player continued to receive treatment for 30 minutes before his heart showed signs of activity.
“In effect, he was dead in that time,” Dr Tobin said. “Fabrice was in a type of cardiac arrest where the heart is showing lots of electrical activity but no muscular activity. It’s something that often responds to drugs and shocks.
“Now, heaven knows why, but Fabrice had, in total, 15 shocks. He had a further 12 shocks in the ambulance.”
Knowing Muamba so well, once he arrived at the hospital on Saturday, Tobin broke down as he feared the consequences of what had happened.
“I can’t begin to explain the pressure that was there,” Tobin added. “This isn’t somebody that’s gone down in the street or been brought into A&E.
“This is somebody that I know, I know his family. This is somebody I consider a friend. This is somebody I joke with on a daily basis.
“As I was running onto the pitch I was thinking ’Oh my God, it’s Fabrice’.”