Top Footballer 'Critically Ill' After Collapse

Top Footballer 'Critically Ill' After Collapse

Bolton midfielder Fabrice Muamba is fighting for his life in a London hospital after collapsing on the pitch during a match against Tottenham.

Players and fans watched in silent horror as paramedics worked to save the 23-year-old at Spurs' White Hart Lane ground, using both CPR and a defibrillator.

Reporters at the stadium said Muamba's breathing had stopped.

The father-of-one was taken to London Chest Hospital, where he is "critically ill" in intensive care, said Bolton Wanderers in a statement.

"Bolton Wanderers can confirm that Fabrice Muamba has been admitted to the heart attack centre at London Chest Hospital where he is currently in a critically ill condition in intensive care," a spokesman said.

"No further information will be issued at this stage.

"The club has requested the media to respect his family's privacy at this time."

There was no action going on around Muamba when he collapsed 41 minutes into match with the score 1-1.

The crowd fell silent as Bolton manager Owen Coyle ran on to the pitch to see what had happened. He could be heard shouting: "He just collapsed!"

The former England Under-21 star was taken off on a stretcher as fans held their heads in their hands, with some in tears.

Referee Howard Webb called off the match, an FA Cup quarter-final, after the incident.

As a message was relayed around the stadium that the game was off, the fans applauded and chanted Muamba's name before solemnly filing out of the stadium.

The player was born in Zaire (now the Democratic Republic of Congo). He came to Britain as a political refugee, and has also played for Arsenal and Birmingham City.

On his Twitter account he describes himself as the "proud dad" to Joshua Jeremiah. He became engaged to girlfriend Shauna Magunda on Valentine's Day.

Commentating on ESPN, former footballer John Barnes said: "From the players' reaction on both sides it seemed that things were pretty serious."

Kevin Keegan added: "Jermain Defoe seemed absolutely distraught.

"The fans are in a state of shock. I've never seen anything like that on a football pitch before.

"Our hearts go out to his family."

Former football manager and pundit David Pleat relived the horrific moment when the player collapsed, which he described as "terribly traumatic" and "eerie".

Tottenham fan Paul Bowman, 53, said: "The other players saw immediately that this looked bad.

"We could see they were trying to resuscitate him. Everyone was in shock. We all watched and waited.

"All the support staff and substitutes were on the pitch. Fans from both teams were chanting Muamba's name."

Mr Bowman said that abandoning the match was the only option.

He went on: "The players were in shock. No-one wanted it to go on.

"It was eerie coming out of the ground. No-one was saying anything. There was a hush, a silence. No-one could quite believe it. It was terrible."

The scene recalled memories of Cameroon's Marc Vivien-Foe who collapsed and died during a Confederations Cup match in 2003.

Meanwhile, footballers took to Twitter to express their shock at the news about Muamba.

Arsenal midfielder Jack Wilshere, who played with Muamba at Bolton, wrote: "Hope Muamba is okay. Thoughts with him."

Manchester United striker Wayne Rooney wrote: "Hope fabrice muamba is ok. Praying for him and his family. Still in shock."

Man Utd defender Rio Ferdinand wrote: "Come on Fabrice Muamba, praying for you."

Muamba's Bolton team-mate, Stuart Holden, wrote: "Praying for you Fab. Hope he's OK. Thoughts with him and his family."

Middlesbrough defender Justin Hoyte, who came through the Arsenal youth team with Muamba, posted: "I seriously hope my best friend in football is OK. Stay strong bro please please stay strong. God is with you remember that."

And Tottenham midfielder Tom Huddlestone wrote: "Thoughts with Fab and his family. Feel sick watching this, puts football and everything else into perspective."

The FA has also tweeted its thoughts and prayers for Muamba, calling him "a wonderful person".

Tottenham Hotspur released a statement on the club's website which read: "Tottenham Hotspur can confirm that Fabrice Muamba has been taken to hospital following his collapse on the pitch during the match at White Hart Lane this evening. The match was immediately abandoned.

"Everyone at the club sends their best wishes to Fabrice and his family."

Tottenham midfielder Rafael Van Der Vaart, who was on the pitch when Muamba collapsed, wrote on Twitter: "Terrible what happened with Muamba during the game. We're all praying for him."

Muamba had taken to Twitter earlier in the day to express his excitement over Bolton's FA Cup tie at White Hart Lane.

Using the username @fmuamba, he tweeted: "Just reach white hart lane. #COYW lets have it now."