Fabrice Muamba: The living, breathing example that football is, in fact, just a game

March 20, 2012 9:46 am

It goes without saying that Fabrice Muamba, the 23-year-old Bolton Wanderers Midfielder, has taken over the news and is at the forefront of topics of conversation worldwide over the past few days.

Whilst on the pitch, the young dad suffered a cardiac arrest four minutes before half time of Saturday’s FA Cup quarter-final against Tottenham. The world held its breath as medics and physiotherapists from both teams spent six minutes trying to resuscitate Muamba on the pitch, before referee Howard Webb made the decision to abandon the game as the seriousness of the under-21 England international’s condition was beginning to be revealed.

Fabrice Muamba

The story of Muamba’s condition has been vastly topical since Saturday, with #Pray4Muamba trending on Twitter as the news of his collapse began to spread and well-wishers taking over Facebook.

As this scary and tragic scene unfolds minute by minute, all members of the footballing family and even those who have little interest in the game whatsoever have collaborated together in hopes and prayers for the recovery of this young footballer. As it was revealed yesterday that his heart is finally beating on its own again and he is showing small signs of improvement, movement and today recognition of his family, the world is slowly releasing the breath that’s been so tightly held for the last three days.

It is so encouraging, simply just as a human being, to see the usually competitive and sometimes hostile footballing world unite in a time when one of its own is in serious trouble. Footballers around the world have been dedicating their wins to Muamba, Facebook statuses, Tweets, prayers, wishes and general goodwill have been so epic that Muamba’s finacée graciously tweeted that “every prayer makes him stronger.”

Taking this completely away from football and reducing it down to size makes the whole situation very heartening. The overwhelming consensus shows that the mixtures of cultures around the world all forget their differences when something really bad like this happens. The magic of the medical teams, the wonder of science, technology and everything from the defibrillator to that six-year-old Bolton fan who wants nothing more than to have Muamba back just shows you what our lives are really about.

Muamba’s collapse really put sport into perspective on Saturday. Nobody will be forgetting that normally irritating “it’s just a game” comment from that person not caught up in the spirit trying to cheer you up after your team has just lost. Fabrice Muamba is the living, breathing example that they’re right. It is just a game. Life, however, is not.

Let’s continue to hope that Fabrice Muamba’s condition keeps improving and that football will forever continue to recognise its unity as well as its divisions within the competition of the game.

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