The soccer player who suffered a cardiac arrest during an English FA Cup match last weekend was essentially dead for 78 minutes before his heart began beating again, his doctors have revealed.
Fabrice Muamba, a midfielder for the Bolton Wanderers, collapsed on the field 41 minutes into the match. Responders administered CPR and a total of 15 shocks with an AED as well as drug injections during the ambulance ride to the hospital. He failed to respond to the defibrillator shocks and drugs during the 48 minutes between his collapse and arrival at the hospital, and only after another half hour of attention were doctors able to get his heart beating normally.
But just hours after collapsing, Muamba was awake and responding coherently, even joking. Despite his progress, he remains in intensive care in serious condition as doctors seek an explanation for the cardiac arrest. The 23-year-old had undergone heart screenings in August and again on Sunday, the results returning normal.
Fifa president Sepp Blatter is as astonished as anyone by the recovery, calling it a miracle. Blatter has been advocating for increased heart screening since the 2003 death of Cameroonian player Marc-Vivien Foe. In the wake of Muamba's illness, he continues to stress the issue, telling The Telegraph, "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."
Both teams as well as 40,000 fans in attendance at Saturday's match were stunned by the incident, and the match was abandoned, rescheduled for March 27.
Even as Muamba recovers, soccer fans in India are reeling after the death of Bangalore Mars striker D. Venkatesh, who collapsed during a match on Wednesday. Venkatesh was taken off the field in a stretcher and transported by rickshaw to the local hospital, where he was pronounced dead. The All India Football Federation has launched an inquiry into the tragic event, questioning the lack of emergency medical equipment that could have saved the 27-year-old's life.