Bolton Wanderers player Fabrice Muamba was on Monday said by doctors to be breathing on his own again, although he remained in an intensive care unit after his on-field cardiac arrest.
A statement issued by the hospital where the 23-year-old is being treated said: "Fabrice Muamba remains in intensive care at The London Chest Hospital.
Bolton Wanderers' Fabrice Muamba, left, kicks the ball beside Tottenham's Kyle Walker, right, during the English FA Cup quarterfinal soccer match at White Hart Lane stadium in London, Saturday, March 17, 2012. (AP)
"He is continuing to show signs of improvement this evening. He is currently able to breathe independently without the aid of a ventilator."
The statement added: "He has also been able to recognise family members and respond to questions appropriately.
"These are all positive signs of progress. However, his condition remains serious and our medical staff in intensive care will continue to monitor and treat him.
"His family and club would like to thank the media for continuing to respect their privacy at this time."
Muamba slumped onto the turf towards the end of the first half of an FA Cup quarter-final at Tottenham's White Hart Lane stadium in London on Saturday.
Millions of TV viewers saw medical staff attempting to resuscitate him on the pitch as players, who were visibly shaken, looked on before Muamba was stretchered off the field.
His manager at Premier League club Bolton, Owen Coyle, spoke of the midfielder's "brave fight" after visiting Muamba in hospital on Monday.
Coyle said the player's family appreciated the many messages of support they had received.
"They have been inundated as we all have, both in the football community globally and family and friends. People are taking a genuine interest and a real concern in how Fabrice is doing," he said.
The plight of the player born in what is now the Democratic Republic of Congo has sparked a wave of support from his fellow players and football fans worldwide.
Teams led spectators in a minute's applause before matches on Sunday while his former Bolton teammate, Gary Cahill, unveiled a t-shirt reading "Pray 4 Muamba" after he scored for his new club Chelsea.
In Spain, Real Madrid players wore the message "Get well soon Muamba" on their shirts when they played Malaga on Sunday.
Muamba's fiancee, Shauna Muamba, the mother to their three-year-old son Joshua, urged fans in a Twitter message to keep praying for his recovery.
"God is in control," she said. "Please keep praying for afmuamba its really helping I can feel it".
Following Muamba's on-field collapse, referee Howard Webb took the players off the field and, with the agreement of both clubs, abandoned a tie where the score had stood at 1-1.
In the wake of the incident, Bolton have postponed their next match, a Premier League game away to Aston Villa due to take place on Tuesday.
But Bolton captain Kevin Davies said the prospect of fixture congestion was of no concern to him or his team-mates.
"Any of those questions are irrelevant at the minute," he said.
"The club will take a stance on it in the next couple of days. But at the minute we want to just try and help Fabrice."
Muamba was born in Kinshasa but came to England aged 11 to join up with his father, who had fled because he feared persecution.
As Muamba continued to fight for his life, Tottenham manager Harry Redknapp tried to rally his shocked players by offering them heart screening at the club's training ground on Monday.
Redknapp stressed his team were "keeping Fabrice at the forefront of our minds and willing him to make a recovery".
Muamba's collapse revived memories of Cameroon's Marc-Vivien Foe dying on the pitch from a heart-related problem during a Confederations Cup semi-final against Colombia in France in 2003.
Amanda Varnava, a consultant cardiologist at St Mary's Hospital in London, called on Britain to follow Italy's example and screen all young athletes for genetic heart problems.
"The Italians have dropped the incidence by 90 percent," she told The Times. "It would be a good idea here." (AFP)
무암바, 의식 회복해 가족 알아봐
그라운드에서 쓰러져 혼수상태에 빠졌던 잉글랜 드 프로축구 볼턴 원더러스의 미드필더 파브리스 무암바(23)가 가족을 알아볼 정도 로 의식을 회복했다고 BBC방송이 20일 보도했다.
볼턴은 무암바를 치료 중인 런던 체스트 병원과 내놓은 공동 성명에서 "무암바 가 가족들을 알아볼 수 있고 질문에도 적절하게 반응한다"고 밝혔다.
성명은 무암바가 계속해서 호전 기미를 보이고 있다며 여전히 심각하긴 하지만 위독한 상황에서 벗어났다고 덧붙였다.
무암바는 현재 인공호흡기에 의지하지 않은 채 자력으로 숨을 쉬는 것으로 알려졌다.
이에 앞서 볼턴과 병원 측은 무암바가 팔과 다리를 움직이지만 장기 예후는 당 분간 단정하기 어려울 것이라고 밝혔다.
팀 동료인 이청용과 절친한 사이로 한국 축구팬에도 널리 알려진 무암바는 지난17일(현지시간) 잉글랜드 축구협회(FA)컵 토트넘과의 8강전에 출전했다가 전반 40분 께 갑자기 심장마비 증세를 보이며 그라운드에 쓰러졌다.
무암바는 내전에 시달리는 콩고민주공화국(DR콩고) 출신으로 11세 때 난민 자격 으로 영국으로 건너가 잉글랜드 U-21(21세 이하) 대표팀에서 뛰었다.
2004년 아스널에 입단해 프리미어리그에 진출한 후 버밍엄시티를 거쳐 2008년부 터 볼턴 선수로 활약해 왔다.
오마리 셀레마니 DR콩고 축구협회장은 "무암바는 6천500만 콩고 국민의 응원을 받고 있다"며 조속한 쾌유를 기원했다.