Muamba Recovering, League Looks Into Screenings
LONDON (AP) — English soccer player Fabrice Muamba showed encouraging signs on Tuesday in his recovery from a cardiac arrest, three days after collapsing on the field during a match.
Despite the quick attention from medical personnel at the FA Cup quarterfinal Saturday at Tottenham, the Premier League said it will consider improving medical screenings throughout the year.
The Bolton midfielder began breathing independently again and speaking on Monday. He had a “comfortable night” in intensive care, doctors said Tuesday.
“It’s still very early in the process,” Bolton manager Owen Coyle said after speaking to Muamba in hospital. “There is still a long way to go but there are encouraging signs … and we pray he continues to improve.”
Premier League chief executive Richard Scudamore said Tuesday that “everyone comes out of this with huge credit,” particularly the medics who raced onto the field to try to resuscitate Muamba.
But there will be a full review of the treatment available at White Hart Lane for the former England Under-21 international and the medical checks that soccer players receive.
According to the Professional Footballers’ Association, the 23-year-old Muamba had four heart screenings.The Congo-born player fled to England from Congo’s civil war in 1999.
“In the immediate aftermath of Saturday night, we checked Fabrice’s records and he had been screened four times,” PFA chief executive Gordon Taylor said.
The PFA said it has spent around $10 million over the last 20 years on screening professional soccer players for heart defects.
“Incidents and events shape policy, shape developments, shape progress,” Scudamore said. “We will look at every aspect of what happened and … if there are ways and means of making it better in the future. We will do everything we can to reduce to the point of elimination, if we possible can, things like that.”
An ambulance was on hand on Saturday in part because of criticism from then-Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho in 2006 about the time it took for goalkeeper Peter Cech to get to a hospital after fracturing his skull during a game at Reading.
An ambulance must be in place at stadiums for the exclusive use of players and club doctors.
Rob Harris can be reached at www.twitter.com/RobHarrisUK