This season football has been the background of many horrendous things including racism, homophobia, corrupt officials, rival fans singing horrific songs.  But on occasion, football, as a sport, can unite fierce opponents, and bring out the absolute best in everyone.  Today was one such day.

Bolton’s 23-year-old midfielder Fabrice Muamba collapsed on the field today in the 41st minute of his side’s FA Cup quarterfinal match against Tottenham on Saturday, prompting resuscitation efforts on the pitch as both teams and every fan at White Hart Lane looked on in horror.  After Muamba, a husband and father of one, was carried off while still undergoing treatment, the match was sensibly abandoned.

Bolton have released an official update on Muamba stating that

He has “been admitted to the Heart Attack Centre at the London Chest Hospital where he is currently in a critically ill condition in intensive care.”

I won’t be showing or linking to a video of Muamba’s collapse as that seems in poor taste.  There were no other players near Muamba when he collapsed face down.  He was then turned on his back as medics began treatment.

From the AP:

Medics rushed onto the field with a defibrillator and treated the 23-year-old Muamba, pumping his chest for around six minutes of treatment.

Some players appeared to be praying as fans chanted his name between periods of silence at White Hart Lane.

After Muamba was carried off on a stretcher with an oxygen mask and with his chest still being pumped, all the players also left the field before referee Howard Webb abandoned the quarterfinal.

One of the players praying on the pitch was Tottenham’s Rafael van der Vaart, who, like everyone around Muamba at the time, immediately seemed to know he was fighting for his life.

Though Muamba has represented England at the youth level, he was born in the Democratic Republic of Congo before fleeing an extremely violent civil war at the age of 11 that forced his father to seek political asylum in England and cost his uncle his life.  Muamba told The Mirror in October:

“It was very difficult. It’s been a long journey. Some people look at footballers and think it is about the cars and lifestyle, but don’t understand how it was for some of us who changed life from Africa,”

“I’m not the most talented footballer but I know what I can do and what I need to do to stay where I am. I just keep myself to myself and enjoy what I have and hopefully move on to better things. I want to enjoy all life can give to me.”

It is worth remembering how relatively unimportant football is at times like this, and it is also worth pointing out just how fantastic the Tottenham supporters were, ignoring the fact that Muamba was not only an opponent, but an Arsenal product, and joined in the Bolton fans with chanting Muamba’s name and applauding him off the field with equal volume and passion.

Every single person that sung his name deserves immense credit for showing the sort of humanity and care that counters the belief that the sport is bereft of it.  We are all fellow human beings and at times like this we should all pull together, let’s just hope Fabrice can pull through.

I’m sure I echo the sentiments of every football fan around the world, everyone associated with football and even those outside of football in praying that Fabrice Muamba comes through this and my thoughts and heart go out to him and his family because he is a quality young player and has the reputation of being one of the nicest people in football.  So from a Liverpool fan YNWA Fabrice.

Married to the amazing Sarah and raising Jakey, Daniel, Amelia, Josh & Jonah in our blended family. Passionate for Jesus, social work & sport.

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