Fabrice Muamba's cardiac arrest on the pitch in 2012 sparked a nationwide prayer effort by footballers and churches.
“I asked God to protect me – and he didn’t let me down.” This was the emotional testimony of professional footballer Fabrice Muamba, who has astounded the nation with his miracle recovery from cardiac arrest.
The Bolton Wanderers midfielder collapsed during an FA Cup match against Tottenham in March. His heart stopped beating for 78 minutes and it was uncertain whether he would survive. But Muamba made a remarkable recovery and walked out of the London Chest Hospital last week.
Speaking to The Sun about his recovery, the 24-year-old devout Christian said: “What happened to me was really more than a miracle.
“I am walking proof of the power of prayer. For 78 minutes I was dead and even if I lived was expected to have suffered brain damage.
But I’m very much alive and sitting here talking now. Someone up there was watching over me. On the morning of the game I prayed with my father and asked God to protect me – and he didn’t let me down.”
Recounting his first steps from the hospital bed, Muamba said he had felt “wrecked”.
"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 on very good shape.”
While running miles was nothing just a few months ago, Muamba said he now felt tired after a 20-minute walk round the block.
While is not certain if he will ever be able to play professional football again, he said he still loves the game and “once I start ball-juggling I don’t want to stop”.
It seems that for now, he is happy to leave everything, including his footballing future, in God’s hands.
“I know I’m making good progress. It’s too early to say whether I’ll play professional football 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.”