Is Fabrice fest healthy or more emotional overkill?

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I WISH I’d counted them, taken a note of all Muamba mentions in one hour.

On BBC Five Live alone there were hundreds, just on Saturday.

I have a football-loving son and a father’s emotions and felt the horror of last Saturday’s shocking scenes when the young Bolton player lay technically dead on the pitch at White Hart Lane.

Everyone who has ever watched or played the game - and that’s everyone - was consumed by the story and for 24 hours hung on every word on 23-year-old Fabrice’s progress.

Thankfully he has improved every day since.

But the world has gone Muamba mad.

Everyone has been quoted, expressed sympathy, thanks, regret, concern and support. Facebook, Twitter and special internet sites are teeming with comment, tributes and appeals.

On the one hand it’s reassuring and heartwarming to see football and the wider social world come together.

On the other hand it’s all a bit barmy. Complete overkill and emotional exhibitionism of mind-boggling proportions.

That’s not Fabrice Muamba’s fault but it is the way of the twittering tweeting twerping world that we live in.

We used to be known for our stiff upper lip.

Our grandparents walked to work over the rubble that just the night before had been their homes when bombs flattened whole streets in the second world war.

Ordinary men and women liberated Nazi death camps in 1945 and never again spoke of the horrors they uncovered let alone asked for counselling.

In 1958 Manchester United lost eight players in the Munich air disaster and less than two weeks later beat Sheffield Wednesday with a patched up team of kids and emergency signings.

Keep calm and carry on and all that.

Through necessity, things had to be that way - not that that was always a healthy response either. Some called it repressed, others were just getting on with things.

Now we tend to wallow, over-examine and, powered by 360-degree, 24-hour all-channels-flowing coverage, allow our emotions to shift into overdrive.

In short we do it to death.

It is a measure of the emotional hysteria we now live in that in the week that Fabrice Muamba has been in hospital 16 of his fellow Congolese will have been murdered in his home country.

Fifteen-year-old Luke Chapman died in similar circumstances playing rugby in Kidderminster. Around 925 million people in the world went hungry, an estimated 40,000 people in Africa contracted HIV/Aids, 30 people were expected to die on Britain’s roads.

News is news and a televised celebrity near-death experience in a packed Premiership football ground is about as hot as news gets.

But it’s time we got it into proportion.

Social historians will point to the death of Princess Diana as the start of our ostentatious outpourings of public grief, though they don’t appear to be sure why it went bang at that time. In a way it doesn’t matter.

In his predicament Fabrice Muamba symbolically represents the vulnerability of all young men and women. That’s why we respond.

If any good is to come of Muamba’s brush with death it would be that all our open-heart emotion be turned into a real desire to help prevent such problems in the future.

That really would be something to get excited about.