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11:05pm UK, Monday March 19, 2012
Bolton’s Fabrice Muamba is breathing independently and responding to family visitors, the hospital treating him has said.
A joint statement was issued by the London Chest Hospital and Bolton football club amid reports Muamba has been talking from his hospital bed.
The statement read: “Fabrice Muamba remains in intensive care at the London Chest Hospital. He is continuing to show signs of improvement this evening.
For all your messages of love thank u so much. Where there is life there is hope xx
— Shauna Muamba (@ShaunaMuamba) March 19, 2012
“He is now able to breathe independently without the aid of a ventilator. He has also been able to recognise family members and respond to questions appropriately.
“These are all positive signs of progress. However, the medical staff in intensive care will continue to monitor and treat him.
“His family and club would like to thank the media for continuing to respect their privacy at this time.”
Muamba’s friend, Curtis Codrington, said the family had told him the player was speaking “minimal words in English and French.
Earlier the hospital confirmed that Muamba’s heart was now beating without the help of medication and that he was also moving his arms and legs.
The statement added: “However, his long-term prognosis will remain unclear for some time.”
The encouraging news came after Bolton’s captain Kevin Davies said his players have had “sleepless nights” over their team-mate’s collapse on the pitch at Tottenham.
Davies told Sky Sports News players were “holding out and hoping he can pull through”.
He said: “It’s been sleepless nights, with what we saw in the pitch.
“You’re half expecting the phone to ring with what we saw.”
Describing the moments after Muamba collapsed, he said: “We all knew there was something seriously wrong.
“He’s one of your colleagues, one of your friends, a father, a son – you just feel powerless to do anything about it.”
Bolton Wanderers manager Owen Coyle later spoke of Muamba’s “brave fight”.
He told reporters the family had been “inundated” with messages of support for Muamba, whose heart stopped for two hours after he fell to the ground at White Hart Lane in front of millions of television viewers watching the quarter-final clash.
Paramedics made continued efforts to resuscitate him but were unable to start his heart beating by itself again until he reached hospital at 8pm.
Muamba’s fiancee, who goes by the name Shauna Muamba on Twitter and is mother to their son Joshua, wrote on the social networking site: “God is in control. Please keep @fmuamba in ur prayers xx”
She later added: “Please keep praying for @fmuamba its really helping I can feel it xx”.
Another post said: “For all your messages of love thank u so much. Where there is life there is hope xx”
After visiting Muamba in hospital on Monday, Coyle said: “The message is the good will, the prayers from everybody, they are so thankful and they want to put that on record – to say ‘keep up the prayers, thanks for all the support’.
“They have been inundated as we all have, both in the football community globally and family and friends.
“People are taking a genuine interest and a real concern with how Fabrice is doing.”
Meanwhile, Wanderers have postponed their Premier League tie against Aston Villa, which was due to take place on Tuesday evening, and a reserve fixture against West Bromwich Albion, which was supposed to happen on Wednesday.
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