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Muamba forced to retire from football

ESPN staff
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Fabrice Muamba has been forced to retire from football © Getty Images
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Fabrice Muamba has announced his retirement from professional football, after doctors advised him a comeback would be too dangerous.

The 24-year-old's heart stopped for 78 minutes after he collapsed on the pitch during Bolton's FA Cup match against Tottenham Hotspur at White Hart Lane on March 17, as he was rushed to hospital as doctors fought to save his life.

After regaining consciousness, the midfielder began to make a slow but steady recovery in hospital - amazing staff with both his progress and his positive outlook.

The former Arsenal trainee had retained hope of being able to make a return to professional football after completing his rehabilitiation - but doctors dashed those hopes after warning that the stresses of the sport would put too great a strain on his heart.

As a result, Muamba announced his retirement from the game on Wednesday.

"Since suffering my heart attack and being discharged from hospital, I have remained utterly positive in the belief I could one day resume my playing career and play for Bolton Wanderers once again," Muamba said in a statement. "As part of my on-going recovery, last week I travelled to Belgium to seek further medical advice from a leading cardiologist.

"But the news I received was obviously not what I had hoped it would be and it means I am now announcing my retirement from professional football."

The one-time England Under-21 international, who also played for Birmingham during his club career, is likely to receive an insurance payout after his career was abruptly curtailed.

Prior to the official announcement, he posted on Twitter, "Keep smiling people".

"While the news is devastating, I have much to be thankful for," he added. "I thank God that I am alive and I pay tribute once again to the members of the medical team who never gave up on me.

"I would also like to thank everyone who has supported me throughout my career, and the Bolton fans who have been incredible.

"I am blessed to have the support of my family and friends at this time."

Bolton have pledged to help Muamba with whatever he now decides to pursue.

Manager Owen Coyle said: "We have spoken with Fab and he knows we will always support him in whatever he wants to do and that we will always be here for him.

"He is obviously massively disappointed that he won't be able to carry on his career, but everyone has seen what a fighter and strong person he is in mind and body.

"We know that he will go on to achieve great things and within all this disappointment, the most important thing is that he is here, alive, today."

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
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