x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 21 July 2017

Bolton player Robinson: 'We all had a heart scan'

Player calls for more consistent checks after teammate Fabrice Muamba's heart attack on Saturday. Audio interviews

Bolton Wanderers player Tyrone Mears, second left, and club doctor Jonathan Tobin, right, arrive with other club officials yesterday at the hospital in London where Fabrice Muamba is in intensive care.
Bolton Wanderers player Tyrone Mears, second left, and club doctor Jonathan Tobin, right, arrive with other club officials yesterday at the hospital in London where Fabrice Muamba is in intensive care.

A teammate of Fabrice Muamba confirmed all the Bolton Wanderers players underwent routine tests on their heart in the summer and said more regular checks should be administered during the season.

Muamba is fighting for his life in a London hospital after he collapsed during a match against Tottenham Hotspur following a heart attack.

Medical staff took two hours to get his heart beating normally again and the 23 year old remains under sedation.

Paul Robinson, the Bolton left-back who joined Leeds United on loan last month, said he was "devastated" and "totally shocked" when he learnt the news and described the former Arsenal and Birmingham City midfielder as "one of the fittest lads I know".

"We all had a heart scan at the start of the season," Robinson told The National. "I don't really understand how it works but they [the medical team] put a monitor to your heart and check the beat of your heart and then get a reading. Everything was fine with me and no one else reported a problem. Fab is always up there with the best runners and is fit as a fiddle."

Muamba became the second Premier League player to suffer a heart problem in three months. Blackburn Rovers' Gael Givet underwent surgery in December after suffering heart palpitations during a match. Robinson called for more regular cardiac examinations.

"Perhaps it's now something we need to look at in football and do more regular testing," Robinson, 33, said. "You put your body through so much as a footballer and perhaps it's time for regular checks."

Robinson had just finished playing for Leeds against West Ham United on Saturday night when news filtered through of the events unfolding at White Hart Lane.

"One of the lads [Tom Lees] got a text to say one of the players had collapsed," Robinson said. "My phone was on silent but when I checked it there were loads of messages. So I called my wife [Caroline] to find out who it was and she flicked on the TV and saw it was Fab. I was just devastated and I know Steve Bruce [who signed Muamba for Birmingham] was too as his son [Alex] plays with me at Leeds."

Robinson said his wife enjoys a close relationship with Shauna, who became Muamba's fiancee on Valentine's day, while Mumba's young son, Joshua, regular joins in training with the Bolton players.

"Fab is such a healthy lad," Robinson said. "He's a great athlete and a great bloke. Even though he is younger than me he is always good for advice. He's got a smile that lights up a room and is so decent and polite. He's also a top player who was a honour to play with. You knew what you got with him and he was always in people's faces on the field."

Robinson has spoken with Owen Coyle, the Bolton manager who accompanied Muamba in the ambulance to hospital, and asked Coyle, a devout Catholic, to "say a prayer for me".

"The gaffer just seems in total shock as he was by his bed side and was in the ambulance with him. Just fingers crossed he is going to be OK and he pulls through."

kaffleck@thenational.ae

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