Chris shares miracle with Muamba

Christopher McNeill with Fabrice Muamba.
Christopher McNeill with Fabrice Muamba.

A young footballer from Coleraine who was brought back to life after collapsing during a Milk Cup match has shared his dramatic story with the Premiership star Fabrice Muamba.

Chris McNeill who was just 17 at the time, stopped breathing after suffering a cardiac arrest in July 2011.

Eight months later, the Bolton footballer Fabrice Muamba also suffered a cardiac arrest during a televised match with Tottenham. His heart stopped beating for 78 minutes.

In an emotional episode of the BBC Nolan Show on Wednesday night, the two men spoke of their miraculous recoveries.

Chris said he could remember very little of what happened to him, and that it took a while for him to realise how close he had come to death.

“I was playing in the Milk Cup, and I collapsed seven minutes into the game,” said Chris.

“It was almost identical to what happened to Fabrice. I had a cardiac arrest and my heart stopped.”

Chris who is now studying at Queen’s University, said he was revived by his friend’s father who was a doctor with the aid of a defibrillator.

He added: “I do remember a day sitting in hospital and hearing on the radio that a Gaelic player had collapsed and he hadn’t made it and that is exactly when it hit home, because they are no different from you.”

Earlier, Fabrice Muamba told the hushed audience that “every breath is a victory”.

At Christmas, ten of thousands of pounds were raised in Coleraine by local man Davy Boyle to help fund defibrillators for all sporting clubs in the area.

Christopher’s father Denis said: “After what happened to our son that night, we are over the moon that other groups and organisations will have a defibrillator to hand, should the need arise.”

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