Fabrice Muamba admits watching football is difficult following retirement

 

Fabrice Muamba admits watching football is a frustrating experience after he was forced to retire from the game.

The former England Under-21 midfielder made a miraculous recovery to health after suffering a cardiac arrest during Bolton's FA Cup tie at Tottenham in March, when his heart stopped for 78 minutes.

Although he did not immediately rule out a return to playing, the 24-year-old quit on the eve of the current season on medical advice and it was revealed this morning that he suffered a second, brief heart scare while on holiday this summer.

Muamba was back at the Reebok Stadium today to promote Hearts and Goals - a year long campaign run in association with Wanderers, the Arrhythmia Alliance and the Heart Rhythm Charity that aims to prevent death from sudden cardiac arrests.

He has also cast an eye over his former team-mates' struggles so far in the npower Championship this term, but admits the experience is something of an ordeal.

"I haven't come here as much as I would have liked to come here because I find it hard to watch football sometimes," he said.

"I get very frustrated and I get very angry. I question myself, 'why me?', but I just have to accept the fact that it's never going to be the same again.

"At the same time, I just enjoy life.

"A typical day is spending time with my family and I do the stuff I wasn't able to do when I was regularly playing football - going to different places, meeting different people and learning different life skills."

Muamba spoke of the incident on holiday in France this summer when the mini-defibrillator implanted in his chest administered an electrical jolt to correct an irregular heartbeat, but insisted this was not a decisive factor in his retirement.

"My defibrillator just kicked in for about 10 seconds, which I was told to be ready for," he said.

"You can tell because it's like an electric shock and everything just stops for a second. You have to get yourself together and get going again.

"It kicked in and it confirms it is working well, which is safe."

This was the latest reminder of the combination of expert medical care and technology that has allowed Muamba to return to health from his on-field collapse - the driving force in his involvement with Hearts and Goals.

The initiative will seek to deliver practical benefits by giving communities across the country access to a targeted 500 new defibrillators as well as CPR and defibrillator training.

"It happened to me and I had the right people at the right time to help me," said Muamba. "I was grateful to be saved by people and I wanted to be part of this.

"Hopefully we can put this machine in every public place we can to help people save lives."

Muamba has not ruled out a return to football with the passage of time, but has designs on some of the game's less stressful roles.

"To be a coach you need a bigger heart and my heart is very tiny," he added. "I had a cardiac arrest playing football and you see coaches having heart problems.

"That's why I'll walk away from football and do something different in my life.

"I would like to be upstairs, be a director of football. Wearing the suits, looking smart and talking about football - no strain on the heart at all."

PA

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