Fabrice Muamba who was last seen carrying the Olympic torch from Greenwich to Waltham Forest on July 21st announced his retirement after his doctors advised him against returning to the sport.
As everyone in the sporting world knows, Muamba collapsed this year in March while playing Spurs as his heart stopped beating for the next 78 minutes. Quick witted medics who administered defibrillation and weeks spent in a specialized cardiac care unit brought him back to life. His recovery was nothing short of a miracle and he was back on his feet in four months. However, training and playing competitive football in the world’s toughest league over a 9 month period is a different story altogether.
Naturally, there was disappointment.
” But the news I received was obviously not what I had hoped it would be and it means I am now announcing my retirement from professional football. “
Muamba is still undergoing further medical treatment and traveled to Belgium to see a specialist there. Clearly, he’s still not out of the woods.
There are any number of things Muamba can do now. With his inspirational story, he can become a goodwill ambassador for the sport. Muamba can start a foundation to shine a spotlight on hidden heart conditions that have claimed a number of athlete’s lives. Much needs to be done to improve the diagnosis and treatment of such conditions. There are huge disparities in testing procedures between leagues because of the cost factor. Football also sorely needs able and honest administrators and Muamba with his maturity and level headedness could become one.
We wish Muamba all the best for the future. Football stood still, fans held their breath in the days after his collapse. He was part of our lives and for a period of time he unified a fractious sport across continents, leagues, and clubs. He will always be a legend for that remarkable piece of history.