Fears for stricken soccer player Muamba's recovery
March 19, 2012 -- Updated 1113 GMT (1913 HKT)
Doctors have described Fabrice Muamba's progress since his cardiac arrest during a match on Saturday as "miraculous." The Bolton star's heart stopped beating for 78 minutes after his collapse but now he is talking and joking with visitors.
Messi wishes Muamba well
Bolton to face Blackburn
Fans pay tribute
Ex-teammate honors Muamba
- Fabrice Muamba collapsed during a football match Saturday evening
- Heart specialist Dr. Iqbal Malik says his professional career has to be in "much doubt"
- Dr. Malik says he received crucial treatment in the first few minutes
London (CNN) -- Fabrice Muamba, the soccer player who collapsed during a game Saturday, may never return to professional football, according to a London heart specialist.
In an interview with CNN affiliate ITN, consultant cardiologist Dr. Iqbal Malik, from Hammersmith Hospital, said it was "very much in doubt" that he could resume his professional career.
The 23-year-old Bolton Wanderers player, originally from the Democratic Republic of Congo, is currently in a critical condition at the London Chest Hospital after collapsing during a match with Tottenham Hotspur.
Players pray for recovery
Dr. Malik said the treatment he received on the pitch was crucial to his survival, and his chances of making a recovery better than someone who collapses in the street due to the medical facilities at the stadium.
"It's almost the ideal place because of course Premiership players are well looked after so he goes in with very good health and top of that he's being actively watched during the game," he said.
Heart health in sport
Stadium hushed as medics worked
Muamba collapses; reaction from stadium
"The paramedics arrived immediately, the resuscitation attempt started immediately and the defibrillator -- which is the life-saving maneuver -- happened within a couple of minutes. Within the first three minutes if you can get the heart restarted, then you've got a good chance of survival."
The specialist who works at one of London's heart attack centers said there would now be concern about whether the young footballer had suffered brain damage.
"It may be that because he's young and fit he'll make a great recovery but the question is more about his brain than his heart. I think his heart will recover quickly from this, but has there been enough bloody supply going to his brain during the time of his cardiac arrest to make sure he's neurologically intact?
"We want to see that he wakes up and starts communicating -- that's the next step."
Dr. Malik believes the cardiac arrest was probably caused by an existing condition.
"Despite all of the screening, there is still an instance of about two in 100,000 of this sort of thing occurring. It's much rarer than in the general population because these are fit young guys, but you cannot pick up the subtle abnormalities."
He said the next 48 hours would be crucial.
"I'm more worried about [whether] he is going to wake up and be the person he was before."
Part of complete coverage on
April 16, 2012 -- Updated 1721 GMT (0121 HKT)
Fabrice Muamba, the Bolton Wanderers midfielder who suffered a near-fatal cardiac arrest on the pitch last month, has left hospital.
March 30, 2012 -- Updated 2026 GMT (0426 HKT)
Bolton midfielder Fabrice Muamba has been pictured for the first time since collapsing on the pitch with a cardiac arrrest.
March 22, 2012 -- Updated 2207 GMT (0607 HKT)
Bolton midfielder Fabrice Muamba did not respond to 15 defibrillator shocks and was in effect dead for 78 minutes before his heart started beating again, doctors say.
March 20, 2012 -- Updated 0948 GMT (1748 HKT)
Professor WIlliam McKenna and former professional player Mitchel Cole talk about heart conditions and Fabrice Muamba's collapsing mid-game.
March 19, 2012 -- Updated 1727 GMT (0127 HKT)
The collapse of an English Premier League player raises questions about how such highly-trained athletes can be struck down in such a manner.
March 20, 2012 -- Updated 0958 GMT (1758 HKT)
Fabrice Muamba's cardiac arrest during a soccer match on Saturday convinced former pro Mitchell Cole he was right to quit the game for fear of suffering a heart attack on the pitch.
March 19, 2012 -- Updated 1807 GMT (0207 HKT)
A 23-year-old English Premier League soccer player was in intensive care after suffering cardiac arrest during a game, his club said.
March 19, 2012 -- Updated 1113 GMT (1913 HKT)
Fabrice Muamba, who collapsed during a game Saturday, may never return to professional football, according to a London heart specialist.
March 19, 2012 -- Updated 0906 GMT (1706 HKT)
Cardiologist Dr. Chandan Devireddy explains the precautions teams can take when screening their players.
March 18, 2012 -- Updated 1036 GMT (1836 HKT)
World Sport reporter Zayn Nabbi describes the scene inside the stadium as paramedics tried to revive Fabrice Muamba.
March 18, 2012 -- Updated 0023 GMT (0823 HKT)
Fabrice Muamba's fellow footballers rallied around the Bolton player after he was admitted to hospital following a possible heart attack during a match on Saturday.
Today's five most popular stories