24-year-old footballer Fabrice Muamba suffered a heart attack on the pitch in March 2012. In the UK the nation followed Fabrice's battle to survive. His plight touched us all. He was a young, apparently fit young man, with everything to live for. Fabrice fought hard and made a brief appearance at his home ground in Bolton, only seven-weeks after he had collapsed. It was great to see him looking so well but what of his hopes to return to football?
Today Fabrice has announced that he is retiring from the game.
Whilst football fans at Bolton and around the country will be sad to see Fabrice go, in some ways they will be glad. His near death experience left many people wondering how he could ever safely play the game again. Fabrice has been advised by his medical team that he should not and has wisely taken their advice.
In a statement Fabrice said of the medical advice, "While the news is devastating, I have much to be thankful for. I thank God that I am alive and I pay tribute once again to the members of the medical team who never gave up on me."
When Fabrice collapsed during the Bolton's FA Cup tie all most people could do was look on in horror. Thankfully there was a cardiologist in the crowd, and he was able to advise and assist until Fabrice arrived at hospital.
When Fabrice suffered a cardiac arrest on the pitch he was technically "dead" for 78 minutes. It took 15 defibrillator shocks to get his heart started again. A long period in hospital followed. In recent weeks eminent cardiologists have been consulted as to whether it would be safe for Fabrice to return to football. The consensus has been that it would not.
We will miss you Fabrice but best wishes are sent for the future.
Eileen Kersey manages TEK Staff Blog