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.

  • steve

    “puts the sport into perspective”. Unfortunately this article is a regurgitation of the gross misuse of this phrase by every football pundit in the country in the past 3 days. Fans know that football is the glorious irrelevance and most do not need a tragic incident such as this to be reminded of that. Its clear the only reason we as fans react to these sad events in such unison is precisely that fact: football is there to keep us entertained but in the end is inconsequential; people are not supposed to die.

  • I would disagree Steve. I think that football fans often do need to be reminded of this. How many fans do you think have died or had serious injury, taken up medical resources and policing resources through their inability to take a step back and remember it is only a game? I don’t know, but there are many! You only have to go to a Celtic vs Rangers game to see that both sides want to kill each other, and indeed, often they do kill each other. I think the author’s point in this article is that it is nice to see something positive, such as the football world uniting, come out of this tragic event. A well written and truthful article ehodson. Thank you.

  • steve

    celtic and rangers are regarded with disdain and disgust by almost all fans, you only have to look at the lack of global interest shown to scottish football to see that. My comment stated “most” football fans. It is naive to let the behaviour of a few bad apples sway you into thinking football was not previously united.

    • Emily Hodson

      Even if there was no actual violence or explicit hatred between the clubs (even though there are so many examples of this in Football) this article is stating that very often people forget or just don’t think about their rivals as part of the same footballing family and thus the unity I mention. If you were, for example, a Manchester United fan, I am sure you would have certain words to describe particular Manchester City players or such. Even if it doesn’t apply to you, Steve, it does take something as big as Muamba’s tragedy to wake the majority of fans into realising that their rivals are also part of the same community. People do get caught up in competition when it’s all running smoothly.

  • Again I would disagree, you only have to do a bit of research on the English football clubs and their ‘Firms’, and in fact worldwide football clubs and their ‘Firms’ to see the hatred and violence between fans of different teams.

  • george

    a very well written article, and I agree with the article. Some fans are over passionate about the sport and they need to be brought down to earth and realise that it is just a sport. The violence doesn’t happen in other sports such as rugby, cricket, american football or basketball, where fans are so sensible that they are able to sit in the same areas of a stadium side by side together. Some football fans need to get out of the die hard ‘I would die for my club’ attitude and start seeing football as a sport rather than as a brotherhood

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