Chelsea's Petr Cech pleased medical care was available for Fabrice Muamba

 

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The Independent Online

Chelsea goalkeeper Petr Cech was relieved to see Fabrice Muamba benefit from immediate medical care after his collapse at White Hart Lane - and put it down to football's reaction to his own life-threatening injury.

Cech fears Bolton midfielder Muamba, who suffered a cardiac arrest during the FA Cup quarter-final, might have died at Tottenham's stadium had his own scare in October 2006 not sparked an upgrading of medical attention available for stricken players.

At the time of Cech suffering his serious head injury during a game at Reading, the then Chelsea boss Jose Mourinho criticised the delay in his goalkeeper being transferred to hospital.

Chelsea made an official complaint that led to a Premier League and Football Association review, from which measures were introduced that included an ambulance being in place at stadia for the exclusive use of players, and club doctors attending every game.

Cech said: "People saw me crawling off the pitch and it took so much time before I was carried off on a stretcher.

"People couldn't get me out of the dressing room. Imagine if this had happened to Fabrice back then.

"By the time anyone could have got to him, he might not have had any chance."

Cech added: "I was glad to see that at least since then that all the medical issues and the structure has changed for the better.

"He still has a chance to survive because of all the equipment around the pitch. It is a great change.

"Sometimes, it can only take a few seconds to change a life or whole career.

"It is good now that after what happened with me, people get the facilities and medical rules really improved."

Cech watched Saturday's game, which was abandoned once the seriousness of Muamba's condition became clear.

He said: "You feel for the family and the people who are all close to him and all the players on the pitch because it's really hard to see something like that.

"At the time when I got injured, no-one really knew how serious it was from the start, but you could see straight away this time how serious it was.

"Everybody made the right decision to stop the game.

"I don't think the players would have had the right concentration to be able to continue."

Cech returned after just over two months on the sidelines but has had to wear protective headgear ever since.

He added of Muamba, who last night remained in intensive care at The London Chest Hospital: "Hopefully, he will make the first step - he needs to make the first step."

PA

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