Fabrice Muamba admits he is still "far away" from returning to the pitch but remains hopeful he will be able to resume his career with Bolton.
The midfielder was at the town's Victoria Hall on Friday morning to receive an honorary doctorate from the University of Bolton at their graduation ceremony. Muamba was presented with the award to honour both him and the doctors who saved his life when he collapsed with a cardiac arrest during an FA Cup tie against Tottenham in March.
Muamba was rushed to the London Chest Hospital and doctors took 78 minutes to restart his heart, with his eventual recovery described as a miracle. Speaking at the ceremony, he said: "I'm getting stronger every day. I'm far away from being back on the football pitch."
He added: "I really, really hope, by the grace of God, that I'll be back on the pitch but I'm just grateful to the university for this doctorate and I receive it on behalf of everybody who helped me to survive the cardiac arrest."
Muamba and his family fled war in the Democratic Republic of Congo, seeking asylum in the UK.
Despite arriving in London aged 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 before moving to Birmingham and then Bolton in 2008.