Imagine being dead for 78 minutes.
What words would you expect from those around you to pinpoint their feelings of the situation of your death?
Black. Gloom. Anxiety. Waiting.
Did I just say hope? I certainly did.
Fabrice Muamba, a man in his 20s – his origins based in the Democratic Republic of Congo (or Zaire at the time of his birth – page 36) but now a proud Englishman by way of immigration – collapsed on the White Hart Lane football pitch on March 17th, 2012.
Over 30,000 Bolton Wanderer and Tottenham Hotspur supporters, coaches, officials, players, stadium workers, and medical professionals were on hand that day, Fabrice Muamba one of the 30,000+ people. His book, I’m Still Standing, has a back-and-forth commentary of his upbringing in Africa and England, as well as that fateful day of his death. The text is easy to read and follow, and the narrative is written in such a way that you get so involved in the story – so much so that even though you probably know what happens (hint: Muamba is a co-writer of the book) – that you continually flip page after page to see the emotions and background details of the collapse and the succeeding days.
It’s truly incredible to read about the trials of the doctors and trained professionals who attended Muamba during those 78 minutes and beyond. What’s more is the strength and perseverance that Muamba’s now-wife Shauna portrayed from playing days at Birmingham – he had some distractions, to say the least – to years after at the hospital once Fabrice recovers from his fall at the home of the Spurs.
Something so refreshing about Fabrice Muamba is his upbeat spirit about his future – a future without football. On page 237 Muamba writes, ‘Every single one of them (a breath) is a victory. Every. Last. One. It’s a victory for you, for your family and for your loved ones. Because it means you’re still alive and still able to live a good, interesting, caring life.’ He continues on page 241, ‘I want the people reading this book to know that every single situation has some good inside it somewhere. Yes, you may have to look, and look hard, but it is there.’
Now as I ask again, imagine being dead for 78 minutes. What words would you expect from those around you to pinpoint their feelings of the situation of your death?
Life. Future. Patience. Hope.