Bolton to play again; Muamba needed 15 shocks

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LONDON (AP) - Bolton will return to the field in the English Premier League on Saturday, a week after midfielder Fabrice Muamba suffered cardiac arrest during a match and needed 15 shocks to recover.

With Muamba improving in a hospital and talking to doctors, Bolton decided to go ahead with the match Saturday against Blackburn.

Bolton team doctor Jonathan Tobin revealed Wednesday that doctors tried unsuccessfully to revive Muamba for 48 minutes before he arrived at the London Chest Hospital. It took another 30 minutes before the Muamba’s heart started beating on its own after 15 shocks.

“They were working on him without his heart having a muscular beat,” Tobin said. “In effect, he was dead in that time … throughout the whole resuscitation period you are worrying.

“You know the longer the resuscitation goes on the less chance there is of survival, but this is slightly different. This is a very fit 23-year-old.”

On Monday, Muamba started breathing independently again and communicating in intensive care.

“I’m glad to say that the early signs of recovery have continued,” Tobin said. “I went to see Fabrice last night. I went in and he said ‘Hi doc.’ I asked him how he was and he said ‘Fine.’”

On Wednesday, New York Red Bulls striker Thierry Henry flew to London to visit his former Arsenal teammate.

Although Henry was not seen by reporters on Wednesday, Professional Footballers’ Association official Bobby Barnes said the French striker had visited the hospital and Muamba.

Henry was at Arsenal when Muamba went from the academy in 2002 to the first team in 2005. The midfielder left two years later for Birmingham before joining Bolton.

Bolton manager Owen Coyle spent much of his time since Muamba collapsed at Tottenham last Saturday at the player’s bedside. Coyle returned to practice on Wednesday after the game at Aston Villa on Tuesday was postponed.

“We spoke together with the players as a group this morning and I talked with Fabrice’s family last night,” Coyle said. “Fabrice’s father Marcel and his fiancee Shauna were keen that we fulfill our fixtures. Once the players knew this, there was no doubt in our minds that we would play the matches.”

Bolton also will return to Tottenham on Tuesday and replay the abandoned FA Cup quarterfinal.

It likely will be an emotional return to White Hart Lane, where Muamba suddenly fell to the ground on Saturday just before halftime. Attempts were made to revive him in front of more than 30,000 fans and a global television audience.

Dr. Andrew Deaner, a Tottenham-supporting cardiologist, leapt from his seat in the crowd and rushed on to the field to help Muamba.

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