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Sports Life Stories: Fabrice Muamba

  • Episode: 

    1 of 7

  • Transmission: 

    Wed 13 Mar 2013
  • Time: 

    10.35pm - 11.35pm
  • Week: 

    Week 11 2013 : Sat 09 Mar - Fri 15 Mar
  • Channel: 

    ITV
  • Status: 

    New

 

 
Featuring top names from Rugby World Cup winners to Olympic gold medalists, Sports Life Stories focuses on the lives of iconic sporting figures.
 
Each of the seven episodes tells the tale of a sporting legend, allowing each individual to open up about their careers and personal lives, and showing how the impact of their achievements can reach into people's daily lives and even into politics.
 
The weekly series features:
 
Footballer Fabrice Muamba
Rugby player Gareth Thomas
Boxer Barry McGuigan
Snooker player Ronnie O’Sullivan
Boxer Amir Khan
Rugby player Lawrence Dallaglio
Athlete Dame Kelly Holmes
 
Contributions from friends and admirers including familiar faces such as Mickey Rourke, Sir Clive Woodward, Michael Vaughan and Jimmy White reflect on and provide insight into the lives and achievements of each sportsperson.
 
First in the series is former Bolton Wanderers midfielder Fabrice Muamba, who recounts how his life has changed since he collapsed during an FA Cup game with Tottenham in March 2012.
 
The documentary features exclusive behind-the-scenes footage from Fabrice's emotional return to the scene of his collapse at White Hart Lane several months later - from the moment he was cheered onto the pitch by Tottenham fans, to pointing out the spot where he collapsed, and received a standing ovation from a full house at half time. 
 
It also tells the story of how he moved to Britain from Congo as a young boy and developed into a Premier League footballer.
 
Fabrice tells the programme he now believes that he may have overstretched himself during training while on holiday in America. In order to reach the level of fitness he wanted, he trained for seven hours a day for a fortnight, yet says he did not feel any undue signs of fatigue at the time.
 
When ITV Sport interviewer Gabriel Clarke asks if he has ever pushed himself too far, he says: "I pushed myself too far, last season before the pre-season I went away to America for 2 weeks just to work, work, work, you know. Just physically to work and get myself in a good condition to come back and play in the Premier League again."
 
Gabriel then asks him why he decided to undertake the training: "I was fit but I wanted to be even fitter, I wanted to come back even fitter than the other guys." 
 
Gabriel also asks Fabrice what kind of fitness work he was doing, to which he says: "I was in this complex in New York and you worked everything from running, gym work - everything."
 
And when asked for his opinion now of the extra training, he says: "I think it's one of the reasons this caused this cardiac arrest - I think I pushed myself very very far to the point where, maybe I went too far with it."
 
The midfielder, 24, who was forced to retire on medical advice after his cardiac arrest, recovered at the London Chest Hospital.
 
Despite being unconscious for three days and his heart stopping beating for 78 minutes, he has stunned medical professionals with his recovery. Professor Richard Schilling, a heart rhythm specialist is asked in the programme whether it is possible that the intensive two weeks physical fitness training Fabrice undertook could have been a trigger for his cardiac arrest six months later.
 
"It was very likely that this cardiac arrest was going to happen at some point. Whether that intensive training period brought that time forward it's impossible to know for sure but anything is possible."