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 Posted by ESPN Staff
Mar 20, 2012

Cech: Improvements helped Muamba

Petr Cech fears Fabrice Muamba might have died at White Hart Lane had the goalkeeper's own life-threatening injury not sparked a revolution in medical attention for stricken players.

Muamba received immediate attention when he suffered a cardiac arrest during Saturday's FA Cup match at Tottenham owed much to the reaction to the fractured skull suffered by Chelsea goalkeeper Cech five-and-a-half years ago.

Then Chelsea boss Jose Mourinho hit out at the delay in the goalkeeper being transferred to hospital following his serious head injury during a game at Reading.

Chelsea made an official complaint that led to a Premier League and Football Association review, from which measures were introduced that included an ambulance being in place at stadia for the exclusive use of players, and club doctors attending every game.

"People saw me crawling off the pitch and it took so much time before I was carried off on a stretcher. People couldn't get me out of the dressing room.

"Imagine if this had happened to Fabrice back then. By the time anyone could have got to him, he might not have had any chance."

"I was glad to see that at least since then that all the medical issues and the structure has changed for the better. He still has a chance to survive because of all the equipment around the pitch. It is a great change.

"Sometimes, it can only take a few seconds to change a life or whole career. It is good now that after what happened with me, people get the facilities and medical rules really improved."

Cech watched Saturday's game, which was abandoned once the seriousness of Muamba's condition became clear.

"You feel for the family and the people who are all close to him and all the players on the pitch because it's really hard to see something like that.

"At the time when I got injured, no-one really knew how serious it was from the start, but you could see straight away this time how serious it was.

"Everybody made the right decision to stop the game. I don't think the players would have had the right concentration to be able to continue."

Cech returned after just over two months on the sidelines but has had to wear protective headgear ever since.

"When I woke up after the operation and even a few days later, football was the last thing on my mind," Cech said. "You want to try to recover your life in the normal way and then, when you have a chance, you can think further."