Bolton: Bolton Wanderers midfielder Fabrice Muamba said he was "getting stronger every day" following his cardiac arrest as he thanked fans for their support on Wednesday.
Muamba was speaking at the Reebok Stadium before kick-off in the Premier League match between relegation-threatened Bolton and Tottenham Hotspur.
The 24-year-old Muamba, born in Zaire (now the Democratic Republic of Congo), collapsed during Bolton's FA Cup match against Tottenham at White Hart Lane on March 17.
He was technically dead for 78 minutes and unconscious in hospital for three days. However, he was eventually released from the hospital last month.
"I'm getting stronger every day," former England Under-21 international Muamba said on Wednesday.
"I am happy to be back, I was overwhelmed with the support I got and it helps me every single day," added Muamba, who was applauded as he walked onto the pitch. "I've still got six or seven boxes of cards to go through that I haven't opened yet.
"I wish I was playing today, obviously my circumstances are not helping at the moment but I'm sure the boys will go out and give their best today."
Unfortunately for Muamba, he saw Bolton remain in the bottom three of the Premier League following a 4-1 defeat by Spurs.
Bolton manager Owen Coyle, speaking after the match, said welcoming Muamba back to the ground had been a deeply moving experience for everyone at Bolton.
"To see Fabrice here -- he came in before the game and it was quite emotional, as you can imagine," Coyle explained.
"We are absolutely delighted with his recovery. That was paramount for Fabrice and his family, I have always said that. It was fantastic to see him and for everyone else to see how he is recovering.
"He is not just a team-mate, he is a close friend because of the character and personality he is."
Although the speed of Muamba's recovery has amazed his doctors, it is still uncertain if he will ever play professional football again.
"I think it is too early to say but he is certainly going in the right direction in terms of improving," said Coyle when asked about the prospect of Muamba resuming his career.
"That will be in consultation with the medical people. God willing he will (play again) but it is far too early to answer that question."