It's a story as incredible as it is incomprehensible: On 17 March, 2012, a world-class soccer player from England, Fabrice Muamba, has sudden cardiac arrest (SCA) on a European soccer field. The audience and remaining players stand stunned as CPR is initiated (video here). An automatic external defibrillator (AED) is applied to his chest. Two shocks from the AED are delivered on the field, another as he was carried to the ambulance nearly five minutes later, and 12 more shocks were delivered on the way to the hospital. None of them worked. Ultimately, 78 minutes of CPR were performed before the sixteenth shock miraculously restored sinus rhythm. He then underwent therapeutic hypothermia, and, just as incredibly, awakened neurologically intact some time later. He later undergoes implantation of an implantable cardiac defibrillator (ICD) as secondary prevention against future sudden cardiac arrest.
Fast forward just three months later.
Yesterday, England's soccer team reached the quarter finals of soccer's World Cup tournament against Italy. In a hard-fought match, time ran out after 90 minutes of play with the score tied 0-0. To advance to the semi-final match, a shoot-out must decide the victor.
The air is tense. The world watches in anticipation. Mr. Muamba, also watching it all, can only sit and watch as his country's players take the field. So what does he do?
He sends a Tweet containing a joke and a picture of his remote monitoring device for his ICD:
(No, the device pictured does not "charge" his ICD)
It was the humorous mark of a champion who is indeed happy to be alive. Sadly, England lost to Italy in the shootout and although we have yet to learn if Mr. Muamba required the use of his device yesterday as a result, we certainly learned a lot about the character of the man and the remarkable efforts of the medical team who made this remarkable story possible.
h/t: C.G., a faithful reader.