|Courtesy of http://www.mirror.co.uk/|
It is far too early to say if the story of Fabrice Muamba is a miracle or simply the combination of incredible circumstances that allowed him to survive. For those who aren't aware, Muamba suffered cardiac arrest while playing for Bolton during their FA Cup match against Tottenham at White Hart Lane last Saturday. Almost as soon as he collapsed medics rushed to his side and began attempts to revive him on the pitch in front of 30,000 shocked spectators. More information has come out in the days following, the most incredible being that Muamba was considered dead for 78 minutes before his heart was restarted at the hospital. There was also the news that he was shocked with a defibrillator 3 times on the pitch and another 12 times in the ambulance and at the hospital before his heart started beating on its own. Maybe it was the fact that a world renowned cardiologist just happen to be at the match and was let on to the field by the medical staff to help; the same doctor who is now treating Muamba at London's Chest Hospital. What about the fact that Muamba was breathing on his own as early as Sunday evening and started speaking to visitors on Tuesday once he was stabilized further. We may never know how close doctors were to declaring Muamba dead, the number of shocks and time without a pulse seem to indicate that they may have been very close. The truth is that soccer players are some of the most fit athletes in the world, a benefit of which is extremely low resting heart rates sometimes into the 40 beats per minute range (average is 80 bpm). Bolton, with the blessing of Muamba's family, have decided to play their league schedule Saturday against Blackburn. More importantly, the FA Cup match at Tottenham will be played next Tuesday starting in the 41st minute, the time Muamba collapsed. There is still a long road ahead for Muamba, but the difference a week makes is incredible and is truly one of the greatest stories in soccer this year.
On Monday this week, a baseball story may have slipped under your radar, as it should be the soccer loving fan that you are, but you might recognize the name... Wilpon. Frank Wilpon and his family, owners of the New York Mets, agreed to a settlement of $162M with the Bernie Madoff ponzi scheme recovery team avoiding a legal battle and further expenses. While that may seem like a lot of money to you and I, the original amount the team was seeking had been $1B. As part of the agreement, the Wilpons do not have to start paying back the money until 2016 and the amount may be reduced if the Wilpon's own lawsuits against investors related to the scheme award amounts. In the end, they will likely get off with paying some number less than $100M. So why does this matter to me as the previously stated soccer loving fan that I am? If you have been following the MLS NY2 expansion discussion for the last 7 years you know that the Wilpons have been involved from the beginning. They have talked of building a stadium adjacent to Citi Field in Queens and MLS have had more than a few talks with the ownership group. Although the settlement clears the way for the Wilpons to proceed with MLS talks, don't expect it to happen anytime soon, if ever. They are still trying to pull the Mets out of debt and once that's done, I'm fairly certain the financial dealings of the Wilpons will be enough to keep MLS away.
A Must-See Soccer Documentary
My brother forwarded me an article in AFAR magazine this week about a soccer documentary I had heard of before but never had a chance to watch. The film is called Pelada and it follows two former college players around the globe to twenty-five countries where they play pick-up soccer games with locals. The article from AFAR is an interview with two stars of the film, Luke Boughen and Gwendolyn Oxenham, and is a good read with some background on the film and their experiences from the trip. The trailer alone is enough to get you amped up to watch the entire film and realize how truly global the game of soccer has become. From children in Africa sewing a small ball from materials around their village to Jewish and Palestinian players competing on the same pitch to the incredible scenes in the Bolivian desert, the documentary is a must see. The good news is that it is available for Instant Streaming on Netflix, so if you have time this weekend (91 minutes actually) make sure to check it out. Also keep an eye on AFAR Magazine, our friend writes for them and although this may be their only recent soccer piece, they have lots of great stories.