Bolton midfielder Fabrice Muamba remains in a critical condition in intensive care this evening, the London Chest Hospital has announced.— BBC Sport (@BBCSport) March 18, 2012
Though, if there's any silver lining to be found among this dark cloud, it lies in the (bulk of the) response by the football world to this tragedy.
Supporters, players and civilians alike have come out in droves to offer their thoughts, prayers and gifts to the 23-year-old native of Zaire (now the Democratic Republic of the Congo), prompting Trotters president Phil Gartside, who expressed his gratitude through a statement on the club's Web site on Sunday:
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"On behalf of our club, I would like to thank the Premier League, the FA and all the clubs who have been in touch to offer their support.
"This has extended worldwide with FIFA, UEFA and the global footballing family also.
"All BWFC fans who have contacted me personally or the club have been unbelievable. We aspire to be a family and all expressions of support are testimony to the reality of the family club we have at Bolton.
"I ask for everybody to keep Fabrice in their prayers and thoughts."
Indeed, the international football community has, by and large, responded to Muamba's misfortune with class, dignity, respect and sincere concern. Real Madrid captains Sergio Ramos and Iker Casillas paid tribute to Muamba and Barcelona defender Eric Abidal, who is set to undergo liver transplant surgery in the near future, before Sunday's match against Malaga:
Real Madrid players with their support towards MUAMBA and ABIDAL.Truly touching how football has come together twitter.com/AnfieldCat/sta…— Anfield Cat (@AnfieldCat) March 18, 2012
Of course, not everyone has been so kind to Muamba. According to ESPN and the Associated Press, South Wales Police arrested a 21-year-old man who allegedly made racist remarks through his Twitter account in relation to Muamba, an act that would've put the individual in breach of the Public Order Act.
An unfortunate response, to be sure, though certainly not one that can possibly outshine the tremendous response with which Muamba has thus far been showered. One can only hope that the good tidings, along with top-notch care, will be enough to nurse Muamba back to health and, hopefully, onto a pitch somewhere at some point down the line.