Brighton’s Enock Mwepu forced to retire aged 24 after diagnosis of potentially fatal heart condition

Brighton & Hove Albion midfielder Enock Mwepu has been forced to retire aged just 24 after being diagnosed with a potentially fatal heart condition.

The club revealed the shock news after the midfielder was hospitalized in Mali when he fell ill on a flight to join Zambia during the international break.

They said he returned to Brighton to undergo further tests, which identified an inherited heart condition that can be aggravated by playing sport. The condition is said to manifest itself later in life and had not previously been apparent during routine screening.

Mwepu issued a statement on Twitter which read: “A boy from a small Zambian township called Chambishi has some news to share. He was determined to follow his dream of playing football at the highest level and by God’s grace he lived his dream out by reaching the Premier League.

“However, some dreams come to an end, so it is with regret that I have announced the need to hang up my boots due to the medical advice I have received. However, this is not the end of my involvement with football, I plan to remain involved in some capacity.

“I would like to take this opportunity to thank everyone who supported me in my football journey, including my wife and family, my agent 12MAN, the Zambia Football Association, all my former clubs, teammates and coaches, and especially everyone at Brighton & Hove Albion. ”

A statement from Brighton added: “The condition, which could worsen over time, would put Enock at an extremely high risk of suffering a potentially fatal cardiac event if he were to continue playing competitive football.”

Chairman Tony Bloom said: “We are all absolutely devastated for Enock. He and his family have had a traumatic few weeks and while we are just grateful that he has come through that period, he has seen such a promising career cut short in so young an age.

“As a club we will give him all the love, help and support we possibly can to make a full recovery and then when he decides on the next steps in his life.”

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