Football is ‘complacent’ when it comes to heartbreak, says Fabrice Muamba

Football is ‘complacent’ when it comes to heartbreak with Christian Eriksen, Sergio Aguero and John Fleck among recent high-profile cases, Fabrice Muamba believes… as he urges schools to make it mandatory to learn how to cope with cardiac arrest


Fabrice Muamba has said the hearts of Christian Eriksen, Sergio Aguero and Daley Blind should shake football from his complacency over a condition that continues to claim many lives.

It will be 10 years since Muamba’s career came to an end in March after he suffered a cardiac arrest on the pitch while playing for Bolton at Tottenham, but the 33-year-old said it proved how much more needed to be done.

Muamba said, ‘There is a complacency about it. We have a high profile incident, talk about it a lot and think we’ve solved it, but we haven’t.

Fabrice Muamba collapsed during Bolton’s match against Spurs at White Hart Lane in 2012

Denmark midfielder Christian Eriksen went into cardiac arrest against Finland at Euro 2020

Denmark midfielder Christian Eriksen went into cardiac arrest against Finland at Euro 2020

“There has been Iker Casilas in Porto, the current conversation about Sergio Aguero, who has had heart problems. Daley Blind at Ajax is another. And Christian Eriksen of course.

“We should be the strongest of the strongest, but it’s happening more often now. If it can happen to them, it can happen to anyone.’

Aguero was taken to hospital for a heart check after suffering chest pain and dizziness during his side’s 1-1 draw against Alaves last month.

The 33-year-old was treated on the pitch after being spotted with his chest just before half time and was subsequently substituted at half time.

Barcelona's Sergio Aguero had to be substituted last month after breathing problems

Barcelona’s Sergio Aguero had to be substituted last month after breathing problems

The Barcelona striker takes three months off the game as he assesses his health

The Barcelona striker takes three months off the game as he assesses his health

Muamba believes football must act decisively to prevent a rise in the number of cases

Muamba believes football must act decisively to prevent a rise in the number of cases

Blind was diagnosed with heart muscle inflammation in December 2019 after feeling dizzy in a Champions League match against Valencia. He had a device fitted to regulate abnormal heart rhythms but collapsed again during a pre-season game in August 2020.

Muamba pointed out that several countries do not have a consistent approach after a player has had an incident.

In Italy, players are no longer allowed to appear on the field if they suffer a cardiac arrest.

“I think it’s better to be safe than sorry,” he said. I would also go for the safe side. Then stay off the sideline. Everyone will have a different approach, but for me it was looking at the bigger picture.

“After an episode like that, it’s not about you anymore. You have a family and you endanger a lot of people every time you play. You make a decision for a lot of other people.’

His main concern is about increasing the number of people who train to cope with cardiac arrest — and even teach schoolchildren the skill — to ensure that lives can be saved.

Sheffield United midfielder John Fleck was rushed to hospital after collapsing on the pitch

Sheffield United midfielder John Fleck was rushed to hospital after collapsing on the pitch

New research by Virgin Media has found that while 89 percent say they would help a stranger with a medical emergency anyway, if faced with someone in cardiac arrest, less than half (48 percent) say they would confident to get up and perform CPR — with top fears being that things will go wrong (62 percent) or hurt someone (41 percent).

Muamba, who has been involved in advising virgin media on training 500 of their frontline staff in the use of CPR, said: ‘We should train people so that they know exactly what to expect and are not afraid to step in and do something.

“I think it should be mandatory that they teach this in schools and that there should be a defibrillator in every building.”

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