England marks DR Congo’s Muamba anniversary with lifesaving scheme

Reuters, Monday 18 Mar 2013

English FA donate a total 800,000 pounds for defibrillators on the anniversary of Muamba’s collapse on the field

Miracle recovery: Bolton's Fabrice Muamba suffered a heart attack in March (Photo: AP)

The English FA marked the first anniversary of DR Congo’s Fabrice Muamba's cardiac arrest during an FA Cup tie by announcing it was providing more than 900 life-saving defibrillators to senior men's and women's soccer clubs in England.

In a joint statement with the British Heart Foundation (BHF) on Monday, the FA said the "initiative will create thousands of life-savers by giving players, staff and fans access to the equipment and information needed to save a life."

The BHF will match a donation of 400,000 pounds ($605,200) from the FA towards the cost of the defibrillators, with another 400,000 pounds coming from clubs.

Awareness about sudden cardiac arrest was heightened when former England under-21 player Muamba collapsed while his team Bolton Wanderers were playing Tottenham Hotspur in an FA Cup tie at White Hart Lane on March 17 last year.

Muamba, who made a full recovery after effectively being "dead" for 78 minutes, has retired from playing on medical grounds and has been hailed as a medical miracle by doctors because only around one in 10 people normally survive a witnessed, out-of-hospital cardiac arrest in the United Kingdom.

Professor Peter Weissberg, the BHF's medical director, said: "The importance of these machines in the chain of survival cannot be underestimated and a new partnership between the nation's heart charity and the FA promises to make a difference between life and death in many of our clubs and their communities."

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