Bolton midfielder Fabrice Muamba's young son cried out as he saw him collapse on TV during a football match as he suffered a cardiac arrest.
Three-year-old Joshua called out "Mummy, daddy is frozen", as they looked on helplessly during the live game.
The Barclays Premier League star remained unconscious for three days following his collapse during Bolton's FA Cup quarter-final at Tottenham on March 17.
Muamba's heart stopped beating naturally for 78 minutes during the incident, which brought the game to a standstill and led to outpourings of support.
His fiancee, Shauna Magunda, told The Sun doctors broke the news to her that he might be brain damaged as she held a vigil at his bedside.
She said: "He looked dead, like a corpse. There's no other way to describe it."
Ms Magunda, 27, told the paper of her horror as she and Joshua watched the game on TV.
She said: "Joshua seemed to think his dad was playing. The reaction of the fans and other players told me something was seriously wrong. People were crying and chanting Fabrice's name.
"Then my phone started ringing. Fabrice's agent got through to me and confirmed my worst fear - his heart had stopped beating."
She also spoke of her relief at Muamba's recovery, which has stunned doctors.
The devout Christian, 24, was fit enough to walk out of hospital just a month after the ordeal although it is not known if he will play professional football again.