Fabrice Muamba

A seemingly healthy young man collapsing in any walk of life is distressing enough for those who care for him; to be the focus of constant media attention and speculation must intensify the distress, particularly with misinformation and the misinformed pontificating around the web. I hope that this morning those close to Fabrice Muamba are resting easier – by any degree – and that Muamba himself is beginning tentatively on the road to a full recovery. His career seems irrelevant at this moment in time but to have overcome severe adversity already in his life to progress through schooling onto professional football is, I hope, inspiration to be able to resume his playing days. Hope is the only emotion to grasp onto at moments like these. My thoughts are with them at this time.

The supporters of both clubs for their reaction at the time and in leaving the stadium peaceably should be commended. Equally the much-maligned Howard Webb deserves credit for his management of the situation. And unreserved admiration for those health professionals who helped save the young man’s life; people whose selfless dedication is too often taken for granted and politically abused.

Despite the cynicism that most of us have about football and the media in general, the reactions and coverage have warmed the soul. There are exceptions to this of course but unfortunately there is little you can do when people leave their brains outside in the rain.

There’s little to talk of in the Arsenal world this weekend so I am not going to indulge in tittle tattle when there are more important things in life.

’til Tomorrow.

52 thoughts on “Fabrice Muamba

  1. “Hope is the only emotion to grasp onto at moments like these. ”
    Well said Yogi n I strongly hope and believe in God that he gets through this.

  2. Close the comments for today’s post please. Comments are redundant, in my opinion.

  3. Fabrice Muamba. My thoughts are with you. One step at a time son. With your determination, you will make it, again and again.

  4. Can only hope he makes a full recovery, but it sounds like his brain was without oxygen for an awfully long time. Full credit to Howard Webb for how he handled the situation (don’t get to say that often) and I thought the ESPN coverage was respectful. Thoughts are with Fabrice and his family, once a gunner always a gunner.

  5. Life is a cruel s.o.b and no mistake.

    Found out yesterday that a friend had fallen off the radar as two of her friends had died from drowning after taking a legal, yet decidedly more dangerous, derivative of ketamine. They were just 20.

    Fabrice, at an educated guess has a genetic heart defect. I can’t be sure but it’s unlikely his brain will have suffered from hyopxia – he may well still have been breathing in spite of the heart attack.

    How much of his heart has ‘died’ is the ongoing critical concern.

    If he recovers – he will certainly never play competitive football again. Depending on the damage if he is stable enough a heart transplant may be his best shot at quality of life – lottery on every level one can imagine.

    And therein lies the rub, often it’s not death that is the thing to fear but quality of life.

    Personally I don’t believe in a caring God, but my wish is for him to do more than just ‘survive’. With luck and thanks to the advancements and efforts of modern medicine hopefully that he will go on to ‘live’.

    In the truest sense of the word.

  6. Our thoughts and hopes for a full recovery are with you and you family.
    Once a gunner always a gooner.

  7. Thank you for such a respectful post YW. By the sounds of things the next 24-48 hours are the most crucial but we should take some solace in the fact that he was treated immediately, is physically and mentally a very strong young man and is receiving the best possible treatment.

  8. Paul – He’s not done much for him so far.

    I don’t get how people thank Jesus/God for him not having died, yet overlook the thought that if there was such a being, it would be down to them that he is in this very sad position in the first place.

    The simple reason he is alive is due to the quick actions of the medical staff at WHL and the luck that in a short space of time he was in the best hospital in the UK for this sort of thing.

    I hope to the bottom of my being that the guy pulls through and has no lasting damage, but this type of incident only reaffirms to me that there is no bloke in the sky looking out for us or anything similar.

  9. Well said Irish – the pitch-side rules and medical assistance available changed thanks in part to Mourinho – his anger and determination regarding the Cech incident was part of a much needed reassessment of the minimum requirements.

    Whatever anyone’s faith (or lack of faith) any of us have – we can agree we all wish him the best. As we all have differing beliefs (and some entirely different faiths) I think it sensible to practice our prayers privately and kind thoughts publicly.

  10. GA, I was shot 4 times at one point in my life and while I was on the ground in pain I prayed to God (yet being an unbeliever) and God helped me, from my prayer onwards to deal with the pain. Now, I know that many who have been shot similarly, have not made it regardless of the medical care. The surgeon himself told my mother that I was alive because God had a plan, that is because they know that not all are saved through medical care.

    Now, God has not promised perfection in this life but he can be merciful, if he so chooses in a particular situation. He did for me and I pray that He will for this young man.

    So when you see me pray, I know of what I speak.

    I would like to keep this as tasteful as possible as that is what the man of the house has done.

  11. Thanks Yogi:

    My thoughts and prayers go out to Fabrice and his family. Thankfully the medical care was prompt and it will give him the best chance of recovery that is possible. It certainly put things in the proper place in our minds.

  12. Paul – Fair enough, and you are right today is not for these types of debates (I realise I started it). I would say your surgeon was doing himself a dis-service though. It would have been nice not to have been shot in the first place no?

    I would be interested (genuinely) to take this up another day though.

  13. Thank you both for resolving that quickly and maturely. It is a subject I too would love to discuss in depth as it is one of the most interesting areas of debate IMO but not today. Regardless of anyone’s religious ideology or lack thereof, I think we can all agree that today as football fans, all of our positive energy should be directed towards Fabrice Muamba and his family and friends. Especially his partner Shauna and his 3 year old son Joshua Jeremiah Muamba.

  14. Well said again Irish.

    At another date I’d be interested to hear how one comes to be shot 4 times.

    Sounds an extraordinary story.

  15. Have been reading a lot online with regards to the publics reaction to Fabrice’s collapse and I have to say that I have been very impressed at the immediate and sincere outpouring of suppport and concern from everyone. Kudos to the Utd fan who left a message outside of the Reebok stadium which simply said “Our thoughts and prayers are with you. One game, one family.” I think that sums it up nicely.

    The only question I am left with is how often are players screened for health risks such as heart-defects and the like and whether or not it is mandatory for them to do so? I read on Arsenal.com that The Arsenal do it on a pretty regular basis but that some only do it once a year, if even that. You would imagaine that, considering the sheer size of the investment even the average player represents to a club, they would be checked on a regular basis, say at least at the beginning of the season and again midway through when fatigue and injury may exacerbate a previously unknown condition.

    I realise that, as YW said, there is a lot of cynicism in football, indeed in profesional sports in general, yet for all there fame and fortune we have seen time and time again that they(the players) do indeed put themselves at considerable risk every game they play. Who can forget seeing Aaron Ramsey or Eduardo in such horrible circumstance and not wonder if they will even be able to walk again, let alone play football, all because of a game? It is very sad that it seems to be only times such as this one, where players from all teams seem to be able to unite and act like the gentlemen the game is supposed to be played by.

    Stay strong Fabrice!

  16. Better to play the game than live in fear and to never play the game at all.

    As it is in football.

    So it is in life.

  17. It worries me that there can be such a public outpouring of emotions for this unfortunate young man,and yet a disregard for even greater humanitarian disasters which happen on a daily basis.
    I must be me but,something about the reaction to this tragedy disturbs me.

  18. George, it is not just you…..Gary Cahill was wearing a “Pray 4 Muamba” shirt. That is good and kind.

    But, we will never see a “give money to those who live off less than 1 dollar a day” shirt.

  19. George I held back from an posting earlier a set of thoughts which read thus –

    It’s never stopped striking me as bizarre that the west has pedestalled death as the ultimate fear – as opposed to the inevitable consequence of life.

    c3,000 children die every day in Africa alone (mostly from Malaria).

    One man, who was exceedingly lucky to escape that, AND the perils of an atrocious civil war, went on to have a privileged life that few will know. He is now at risk of death and that’s undoubtedly sad.

    The pragmatist is left to wonder over the hand-wringing – is it just an extension of our angst over the frailty of our own mortality and that of those we love?

    He touched our lives tangentially so he now becomes THIS significant?

    Why is his ‘potential’ death important on the larger scale? What does that make of us as humans?

    Where is the so-called mercy for those who are so prevalent but unseen? Those who’s magnitude and multitude is beyond comprehension?

    Those who never even had the chance of ‘life’: The unknown and unconsidered who live in sufferance and often only meet ‘mercy’ through the escape of death?

    We all die – it’s how we live, and live with ourselves, that matters.

  20. Jonny .
    Joking apart,One of my very favorite things about ACLF is I get to talk to and learn from people who are much smarter than I am.
    I have learned more this past year about football,and much more,than I could ever have imagined at my age.

  21. Most of the outpouring is because it was live on TV. Things like that are very hard to watch. I have been up close and personal in similar situations and it is hard not to be upset to actually witness it.

    If the news had come through that a young footballer had died at home, the reaction would be very different IMO. Still sad of course but the public nature of his plight makes it all the more traumatic.

    I remember when Princess Di died. Sad of course, but I can’t say I was that moved like many appeared to be. If I had actually seen the crash and subsequent attempts to get her from the wreckage I may have felt very different.

    Witnessing such things is hard, even if it is a stranger.

  22. Jonny, George

    Is it really the fear of death that caused the unfortunate incidence to gather so much publicity. I believe the outpouring is due to the easy access to the information due to media and social network and what football is. I remember vividly, well Marc Vivian Foe died during the confederations cup in France, it was terrible but didn’t gather much publicity as this. This shows the power football as a sport carries. It shouldn’t be underestimated.

    This power can definitely be channelled into other causes like you mentioned. But we honestly have to agree that lots is being done by various people/bodies and organisations (is it enough? Debatable) to help those in distress.

    I was touched by the events of yesterday honestly, especially with the massive publicity…I hope football can be used to touch lives in other ways than entertainment.

    My thoughts are with Muamba and his family…come back strong man!

  23. Having worked in operating theatres when I was 18, and having watched my mum die in front of me just 2 years ago, I’ve seen death first hand many times.

    It always stays with you – especially it’s sometimes arbitrary nature. But it can be instructive, important and valuable. I feel better for experiencing it first hand but it is suffering that troubles me more – often created by the desire of the well meaning to prolong life at ALL costs.

    In much of Africa people live, as we did not so many years past: with death as familiar an occurrence as the sun setting. They accept that most of their children will die and are just joyous when serendipity overcomes adversity.

    Death is woven inextricably into the fabric of existence but ‘the West’ has turned death into a ‘disease’.

    Worse still it’s a ‘disease’ we almost never see – creating outpourings that are bizarre and illogical. Diana’s death was sad. But the overblown outpouring was even sadder. I found it utterly appalling – a media fuelled orgy of despair over an ordinary person who was then elevated to almost saintly proportions.

    We no longer kill animals we eat and we no longer see people who die. Death is an alien with pointy teeth.

    This, to my mind, is wrong. It has exacerbated fear – and we all know what Yoda says about fear.

    The result is that we are as divorced as any humans ever have been from the very idea of death.

    We all labour against our own cure, for death is the cure of all diseases.

    SIR THOMAS BROWNE, Religio Medic

    if that all sounds a bit sombre then lighten up – you only get one ride after all.


  24. Its not fair, you can be an ass or a good guy, you can be rich or poor. These things happen, and you cannot control it. You cannot choose who goes it and who stays.
    Its especially crule and shocking when it happens to genuinley good guys. And it makes you realize that in the end, whatever you are, however you choose to live your life, its still a big gamble and the only certain thing is that you one day will die. Nothing can save you from that, not even being a good guy earning 20k a week.

    Whats the point of making shit loads of cash if it cannot protect you against these kind of things? Its a disturbing thoguht as we always seem to think that if we only pay them this and this much they will be strong players with power to influence the outcome of anything.
    But in the end, they are as powerless as us when it comes to the things that really matters in life. They are not immortal. they are not gods, they are just yong boys of flesh and blood.
    Fabrice is 23. His life expectancy is over 80. hes barley done one forth of his life and has so much left.

    Its times like this. not particularly because hes a footballer, but because hes a young boy, nice, well mannered, likable, and with all the right contidtions to life a long fruitful life. Rich, young, successful, statues as a solid footballer in one of the worlds biggest leagues. lots of kids worshipping him as a hearo. he got Everything going for him. everything.
    And now hes dying or atlest getting his life changed forever? And there is nothing one can do about it?
    Makes you realize how little control one really has over ones own life…

  25. Well put Jonny. The Western world has enjoyed strides in the standard of living and healthcare to the extent that death has become sanitized for many of us. Over the past few years (on and off) I have been researching the family ancestory and didn’t have to go back too far to realize infant mortality was a fact of life – not that it made the loss any easier but there must have been a hardening of emotions if only to cope with those events. And not surprising when families of ten lived in 2 or 3 rooms. Just looking at Parish registers and seeing old and young being buried within days of each other. One person caught the measles, the whole house went down with it. And that’s still life for many in the third world today.

  26. “Park Chu-young Under Fire for Delayed Military Service”

    “In 2009, the Monaco royal household agency granted Park an unprecedented 10-year residence permit in recognition of his outstanding activities there,” said Lee Sung-hee, Park’s lawyer. “We found out through a legal counsel last July that it’s possible to delay military service based on a long-term overseas residence permit.”

    Asked why Park did not reveal this sooner, the lawyer said, “Additional negotiations about his transfer fee between Arsenal and AS Monaco only concluded recently, and AS Monaco asked us to make it public after the negotiations came to an end.”


  27. Thoughts are with him and his family.

    I was recently asked to prey for an old friend who was in hospital with a serious disease. When I found out that they died I felt anxious that I did not. Was it with relief that I later heard that they had succumbed to this disease because they had cancer and were spared a gruesome death? Hell yes, but that is not the end of the story.

    It is cruel that when we are at our lowest point we ask for help and when things get better we can point to that ‘response’ as a proof for why there must be someone/thing there to have answered the call.

    It is a fallacy that probability gives us and it works the same way that a boss gets manager of the month and his team suddenly can’t buy a match. We tend to praise when someone has achieved something extraordinary and we tend to pray when things are at the bottom. Next month is likely to be ‘normal’ for the boss which means losing some and for some at least at the improbable bottom, things are going to get better on their own. (for anyone interested it is called the regression to the mean)

    The statistical misconception that seems so real to us is that we are not the only one doing the asking and with billions of people praying and praising everyday, many of us are going to have a positive improbable outcome and will live to spread the word. …regardless of who is upstairs. Did you ask Allah, did you ask God or two sticks carved that form the entrance to your village?

    A few people over millennia may get a few improbable positive outcomes every time they get into trouble, lets call them a prophet, and even more improbably it may happen to someone all their lives, lets call them a deity. (just being born handsome, intelligent and rich is fortunate enough) I think Monty Python called them ‘Lucky Bastards’

    I’ll settle for calling them Man- Ure

  28. Jonny,

    Strangely I somewhat disagree with the idea that we should get used to death and not sanitize it somewhat.

    I think one should not live in its shadow and that means not being fearful of it, knowledge of it’s ever presence gives you a fear and a loss of meaning that we try to create in life, even if it prepares you more for death more. I am not claiming that ignorance is better, but I don’t think it generally helps deal with life to surround yourself with everyone’s death.

    Many in Africa do not value individual lives as they do in Europe and kill with little regard. Only a respect for life changes that attitude, not death. Where we have no control over life the feeling that we are helpless makes us very harsh.

    I notice that Buddhists overcome the logic that if life is meaningless it does not matter if you kill by stating that to kill a cockroach may be to kill your father, but that still leaves me saying ‘come back as something useful, or if that is not possible, in someone else’s kitchen, SCRUNCH’.

    You want to be lucky in life, which means that your family and friends are good and they live to assist you to be whatever you hope. That is to say you want to hide in the shield of ‘the meaning of life’ – otherwise known as immortality – from my nemesis and yours…mortality.

    It does not then matter (to you) that one day you die as you don’t care, you have been fulfilled.

    Rather that than live little, in fear.

  29. “you only get one ride after all.”

    Not necessarily. Many believe in Reincarnation and Karma. And if you do, you know that everything happens for a reason and death is just the end of one chapter.

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