Fabrice Muamba made it. The odds were stacked against him, even more than they are against most people, since he was forced to flee his homeland as a child and try to find a fulfilling path through an alien environment.
Yes, he was armed with a precious talent, but not with as much of it as many people who did not reach such a high level in professional football.
He made it because he augmented his talent with such diligence and determination that he set himself apart from countless others who probably fancied they could have gone as high or higher than he did. Extraordinary tenacity and dynamism were the hallmarks of his playing style.
Sorrow is inescapable when anyone is robbed by ill-health of something or someone they love; it is thoroughly sad that Muamba will not be able to resume the football career that he worked so hard to build.
While he seems to have been pitiless in what he demanded from himself in order to succeed, he appears to have been gentle with others: the content of the cascade of tributes that flowed after he collapsed at White Hart Lane in March attested to a player who was popular not merely because he had a glamorous job but also because he seemed untainted by the attendant glitz and guff. Self-aware and affable, he is exactly the sort of person that commentators overlooked last week when they complained glibly about how much more savoury Olympians are than footballers.
While there is a sense of dismay that such misfortune should befall one of the nice guys, there is also cause to be grateful: firstly, of course, because while Muamba has lost his career, he did not lose his life despite suffering a cardiac arrest. And secondly because the 24-year-old Muamba, by overcoming adversity to play for three Premier League clubs and become the second-highest capped England Under-21 international, has indicated that he has the qualities to deal with his anguish and go on to make it in another field, too.
He may stay in football, where many people have forged fine careers after their playing days were truncated by injury or ill health; he may go into business, making use of the accountancy qualifications that he obtained while pursuing his football career; he may do both, or he may do something else.
Whatever he chooses to do, he is likely to set about it with sedulousness and guts. And the best wishes of millions.