Brighton & Hove Albion midfielder and Zambia internation Enock Mwepu has been forced to retire from football following the diagnosis of a hereditary heart condition.
The 24-year-old, who joined Brighton from RB Salzburg in 2021, has been informed that to continue playing competitive sport would put him at an extremely high risk of suffering a potentially fatal cardiac event.
Mwepu was taken ill while on a flight to join up with Zambia during the international break and after a period in hospital in Mali he returned to Brighton to undergo further cardiac tests and ongoing care.
“We are all absolutely devastated for Enock,” club chairman Tony Bloom told the club’s official website. “He and his family have had a traumatic few weeks and while we are just thankful he has come through that period, he has seen such a promising career cut short at such a young age.
“Of course, given this is Enock’s career and a decision which can’t be taken lightly we have taken our time to be as thorough as possible, completed advanced cardiac investigations and collaborated with clinical experts to gain the best second opinions for Enock.
“As a club we will give him all the love, help and support we possibly can to make a full recovery, and then as he decides on the next steps in his life.”
Brighton’s Head of Medicine and Performance, Adam Brett said: “It is a terrible blow for Enock. But he has to put his health and his family first and this is the right choice, however difficult it is to quit the game he loves.”
“We will be helping him make sure the condition is managed with the appropriate treatment for him to otherwise live a long and healthy life.”
Head coach Roberto De Zerbi added: “I am so sorry for Enock. Before I arrived I looked at all the squad, and he was a player I was so excited and looking forward to working with. We will do everything we can to help him.”
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