FABRICE MUAMBA 'MAKING PROGRESS'
Bolton midfielder Fabrice Muamba has revealed he could only walk five paces after regaining consciousness following his shock cardiac arrest.
The Barclays Premier League star's heart stopped beating naturally for 78 minutes after he collapsed in a heap during Bolton's FA Cup quarter-final at Tottenham Hotspur on March 17.
He was unconscious for three days despite feeling "particularly fit" before the incident, and awoke to find he could only manage a handful of paces when he was helped to his feet.
He told The Sun: "I couldn't believe how wrecked I felt.
"I only managed about five paces from my bed, but felt like I'd just run the London marathon.
"It was a shock feeling like that because I've trained hard all my adult life and like to think I'm in very good shape."
The devout Christian, 24, stunned doctors after making a miraculous recovery and was fit enough to walk out of hospital just a month after the ordeal. However, it is not known if he will play professional football again.
Reliving his first steps, he added: "Once I was on my feet for the first time I felt like a toddler again - like my three-year-old son Joshua. I could barely put one foot in front of the other and had to be carried back to my bed - but it was a start."
Muamba was discharged from the the London Chest Hospital last Monday - almost a month to the day after he suffered the cardiac arrest.
He has been building his fitness by taking short walks with his fiancee Shauna Magunday.
"A few months ago I would think nothing of running miles, but now I'm tired after a 20-minute walk around the block," he said.
"But now I'm making progress. It's too early to say whether I'll play football professionally again but I have great faith in God and I have hope, so who knows? If I can come back from the dead then perhaps I can achieve anything."
(reopens) Bolton boss Owen Coyle has been monitoring Muamba's recovery closely and says the club would be delighted to received a visit from the player when he felt ready.
Coyle has been careful not to speculate on whether or not Muamba would be able to continue his playing career, but insists he would be welcomed by his team-mates first and foremost as a friend.
"Our football club is a family club and when Fabrice and his family, in consultation with the medical side, feel he's up for a visit we'd welcome him with open arms," said Coyle.
"We'd have the banners and the bunting up and we'd be delighted to see him.
"It's great to get little bits of news now and again and some of the players will text him sometimes, but to see him in the flesh at the training ground or at the stadium would be fantastic.
"They would see how much he has improved since that horrible day.
"Our hope was that he would come back to have a great life with his family and he seems to be on track for that."
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