BOLTON, England (AP) - Fabrice Muamba made an emotional return to Bolton on Wednesday, waving tearfully to fans from the field less than seven weeks after his on-field cardiac arrest.
The midfielder was introduced to a standing ovation ahead of Bolton's Premier League match against Tottenham, the team he was playing against in the FA Cup when he collapsed on March 17.
Looking healthy and mobile, Muamba wiped tears from his eyes as he acknowledged the crowd at the Reebok Stadium.
``I wish I was playing today,'' Muamba said.
After greeting the crowd, Muamba made his way to the stands to support his team.
Muamba's heart stopped for 78 minutes on March 17 but the intervention of a cardiologist, who left his seat among Tottenham fans to treat him, helped saved his life.
He was discharged from a London hospital on April 16.
``This is a special place: the support has been overwhelming and I am just grateful for that,'' Muamba said. ``I am OK. I am getting stronger every day. I am happy to be back I am just happy to be able to speak to people again and walk freely.
``I am very happy and very excited for today's game and I am happy that I came today.''
Soccer clubs around the world made gestures of support for Muamba and the former English under-21 team player said he had been touched by messages from fans.
``It helps me every single day. I still have six or seven boxes of cards to go through and I am grateful for that. It stays in my mind every single day,'' Muamba told Sky Sports News. ``Thank you from the bottom of my heart. Thank your for your support, the whole country has been overwhelming and I am grateful I can walk again and do things normally again.''