Muamba remains critical after cardiac arrest

ROB HARRIS AP Sports Writer Published:

LONDON (AP) -- Bolton midfielder Fabrice Muamba remained critically ill in intensive care on Monday, two days after suffering a cardiac arrest during an FA Cup match at Tottenham.

The 23-year-old Muamba's heart only started beating on its own again when he arrived at a London hospital's heart attack unit on Saturday night.

"Fabrice Muamba's heart condition is stable, but he remains critically ill in intensive care," the London Chest Hospital and Bolton said Monday in a joint statement.

The player's fiancee has been issuing pleas on Twitter for the health of Muamba, who proposed on Valentine's Day. The couple has a 3 year-old son, Joshua.

"Fabrice WILL!! Pull through because God is good," Shauna Muamba tweeted. "Love u so much fmuamba keep strong we're praying for u honey ... where there is life there is hope."

Bolton manager Owen Coyle said the former England under-21 international is going through a "brave fight," adding that the club had been inundated with messages of support, including from David Beckham.

"There is a real hope he can come through this. When situations like this occur there is a real strength, a real unity, a real togetherness ... that has given (the family) an incredible energy," Coyle said outside the east London hospital. "That source of energy that everyone is giving off is really bringing them together as a family and that is important for Fabrice's well being."

Muamba, a former Arsenal and Birmingham player, fled to England with in family in 1999 to escape the civil war in Congo.

"When you look what he has come through in his life already he is a natural fighter. He is a physically fit young man," Coyle said. "If those things can help at all it will be a source of help and encouragement."

There is also concern in his homeland.

"We pray he recovers his health," Congo football federation president Omari Selemani told The Associated Press by telephone. "We are with him in heart and especially with his family at this difficult moment. Being of Congolese origin, it makes our country proud having a player from Congo playing abroad."

Bolton's next match, at Aston Villa on Tuesday in the Premier League, has been postponed because of the situation. The team is scheduled to play Blackburn on Saturday, and then could face Tottenham again next week in the FA Cup at White Hart Lane to replay the quarterfinal match that was abandoned on Saturday.

"I know the decision will have to be made, but the immediate thoughts are with Fabrice," Bolton captain Kevin Davies said about the possibility of Bolton pulling out of the FA Cup. "I'm sure the club will take a stance on it in the next couple of days."

Davies, who visited Muamba in the hospital over the weekend, said the Bolton squad had the option whether to attend training on Monday.

At Tottenham, players were due to undergo tests for potential heart defects, with cardiologist Sanjay Sharma saying "the players have all demanded cardiac screening" at a planned routine visit on Monday.

"That involves taking a history relating to cardiac symptoms, which include chest pain during exertion or breath which is disproportionate to the amount of exercise being performed and blackouts, (and) asking about a family history because many of these conditions that can cause cardiac arrest are hereditary," Sharma said.

"We then perform a cardiac examination and following that we do an ECG (electrocardiogram) which is an electrical tracing of the heart which looks for electric faults of the heart and a cardiac ultrasound which looks at heart muscle problems or problems with the heart values."

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Rob Harris can be reached at www.twitter.com/RobHarrisUK