- Associated Press - Wednesday, March 21, 2012

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, Bolton decided to go ahead with the match Saturday against Blackburn. The game Tuesday at Aston Villa was postponed.

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.

“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.

Bolton team doctor Jonathan Tobin revealed on 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 23-year-old Muamba’s heart started beating again after 15 shocks.

“In effect, he was dead in that time,” Dr. Tobin said.

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

“If you’re going to use the term miraculous, I guess it could be used here,” he said.

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.’”

Dr. Tobin said Muamba has been discussing cardiac arrest, which prompted an outpouring of concern throughout the soccer world.

“I explained to him what had happened,” he said. “That’s the sort of level of communication I have had with Fabrice.”


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

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