BOLTON midfielder Fabrice Muamba, whose heart stopped for 78 minutes after he collapsed during a live televised match, was handed an honorary doctorate by the University of Bolton today.
Muamba, 24, was honoured by the University at its degree congregation ceremony for students, their friends and families to celebrate graduation day.
In March this year during the first half of an FA Cup quarter-final between Bolton and Tottenham, Muamba suffered a cardiac arrest.
Millions of TV viewers watched as medical staff rushed to his aid with the player receiving lengthy treatment on the pitch. He recovered in hospital but doctors who saved his life later confirmed that his heart had stopped for 78 minutes.
It is not yet known when, or if, he will be able to return to professional football.
Muamba and his family fled war in the Democratic Republic of Congo, seeking asylum in the UK.
Despite arriving in London age 11, unable to speak English, he went on to achieve 10 GCSEs and three A levels and joined Arsenal FC's youth academy in 2002.
Dr George Holmes, vice chancellor of the university, said: "Fabrice is an exceptional young man in his own right, but he received his honorary doctorate to celebrate and recognise the work of the teams who rushed to his aid.
"The University is developing its strength in the field of sports science and associated clinical work for elite athletes.
"There can be no better example of the work of clinicians than the emergency treatment Fabrice received."