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Coyle recalls Muamba collapse
Bolton manager Owen Coyle has admitted how helpless he felt as he watched medical staff battle to save Fabrice Muamba's life following the midfielder's cardiac arrest at Tottenham last week.
Coyle earned huge praise for the dignity with which he dealt with such a traumatic situation. Yet the Scot acknowledged his instinct was just to wrap his arms around someone he feels so protective of.
"When I came on the pitch, all I wanted to do was pick Fabrice up and put him back on his feet," said Coyle. "It was difficult to see that happening to someone you know dearly. People deal with it in different ways and I suppose you have an in-built mechanism that kicks in. But, looking back, the first few days were surreal."
On Sunday, as the extent of the treatment Muamba had undergone just to keep him alive became known, it seemed impossible that Bolton would be playing within a week. That they will face Blackburn on Saturday is a testament to the progress Muamba has made. However, Coyle accepts keeping emotions in check at the Reebok Stadium might be difficult.
"No one has said that they don't want to play but that may change in the next couple of days because it is going to be difficult," said Coyle.
"I had a collective chat with the group and outlined everything that happened, so there was a clear picture. One or two asked questions and if anyone feels it is too much for them, there would be no problem."
In addition to Coyle's handling of the situation, the medical staff, both at White Hart Lane and the London Chest Hospital have been praised.
Football Association senior doctor Ian Beasley has been among those to pay tribute, acknowledging that without such immediate care, Bolton could be looking at a much bleaker scenario.
"I quite often say if you are going to have a heart attack, do it at 3pm on a Saturday at the Emirates Stadium or White Hart Lane, or wherever," he said. "Not only do they have the facilities, they have the best trained people.
"The FA runs courses and we hope everybody in football continues to be trained in this way. On Saturday, if Fabrice had not received the care he did, he would not have survived."