By Hannah Al-Othman
EX-PREMIERSHIP footballer Fabrice Muamba visited Oasis Academy at MediaCityUK in Salford on April 12 to talk to students at a special assembly.
The school also organised a football tournament for local primary school children on the day, and Muamba was on hand to present prizes to the winning teams.
Muamba played for Bolton Wanderers, Birmingham City and Arsenal before retiring last year after suffering a cardiac arrest during a inspirestelevised FA Cup match between Bolton and Tottenham Hotspur.
He recovered from the cardiac arrest despite his heart stopping for more than an hour, but he spent several weeks in hospital and doctors advised him to retire from football as a result.
Muamba spoke to students about how his faith helped him through this difficult period, and about Hearts & Goals, the foundation that he supports.
Through Hearts & Goals Muamba is hoping to fund the installation of 500 defibrillators in public places across the North West, as well as training for people who may have to use them.
Muamba said: “I think it’s important to speak to kids about defibrillators and how they can change lives.
“I’m grateful that I had the right people around me. I was in the right place at the right time. My life was saved, and through defibrillators we can save the lives of others.”
Muamba also expressed his gratitude for the medics who saved his life and the thousands of people around the world who prayed for his recovery.
He said: “My wife is pregnant with our second child. I could not be happier right now.”
Oasis Academy had put in a grant application to an organisation called SADS UK for a defibrillator at the Academy, and staff were able to announce on the day that their bid had been successful.
The visit was the brainchild of Adam Webster, an undergraduate at Oasis Academy who runs a group called YOUnity (Young Oasis Unity group), which looks at issues of social justice, and equality.
Adam felt that somebody like Fabrice who has such an amazing story would really encourage and inspire the students to become the best they can be and to fulfil their potential.
Karen Openshaw, Chaplain and Church Leader at Oasis Academy said: “I hope that seeing how Fabrice’s life has been changed will be a life-changing experience for our students.”