Fabrice Muamba 'laughing and joking' following cardiac arrest


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The Independent Football

Fabrice Muamba has been 'laughing and joking with Bolton players' according to the latest reports on the condition of the midfielder who suffered a cardiac arrest at the weekend.

Reports on the 23-year-old's condition continue to improve but he remains in intensive care at the London Chest Hospital after collapsing on the field at White Hart Lane in an FA Cup match with Tottenham on Saturday.

Earlier today, Bolton Wanderers manager Owen Coyle said he had spoken directly to Muamba, describing him as a "fighter", as he looks to recover from the incident which saw his heart stop.

Coyle praised the treatment the former England Under-21 international had received but warned there was still a long way to go.

He said: "I have been in to see him myself, as has his family, and we have had a brief conversation, the contents of which are private.

"It's a great sign. I must stress we are very early in this process and there is still a long way to go but it is really positive.

"I want to go on record to thank everybody, especially the supporters of Bolton Wanderers and Tottenham Hotspur for their reaction.

"The hospital has been truly remarkable in the work that they have done."

A joint statement by Barts and the London NHS Trust and the club this morning said: "Fabrice Muamba has had a comfortable night in the intensive care unit at the London Chest Hospital where the medical team is continuing to monitor his progress.

"Fabrice's family has asked us to thank everyone again for their thoughts and prayers and for the continued messages of support from which they draw great strength.

"To ensure the smooth running of the hospital for all patients, as well as Fabrice's need to concentrate on his recovery, they would request that he receives no more visitors for the moment, outside of immediate family and members of Bolton Wanderers Football Club."

A string of visitors from the world of football - including Chelsea defender Ashley Cole, QPR's Shaun Wright-Phillips and former team-mate and Arsenal player Johan Djourou - arrived at the hospital yesterday to offer their support. Barcelona star Eric Abidal, another player suffering serious health concerns, sent his best wishes earlier today.

With Muamba's condition improving, questions are already turning to whether the Zaire born midfielder will be able to play again.

On the subject Coyle said: "It is something which has happened before.

"There are two things which might help - he is such a fit young man and in the life that he has had he has needed to fight every step of the way."

Bolton have said they will make a decision tomorrow on whether their Premier League match against Blackburn on Saturday will go ahead. No action has been taken on the re-arrangement of their Sixth Round FA Cup tie with Tottenham.