Brighton & Hove Albion’s Zambian midfielder Enock Mwepu has retired from professional football following the diagnosis of a hereditary heart condition, the club announced in a statement on Monday.
The statement noted that Mwepu has been forced to hang his boots since the condition, which can worsen over time, would put him at an extremely high risk of suffering a potentially fatal cardiac event, if he were to continue playing football competitively.
The 24-year-old 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.
The tests concluded that his illness is due to a hereditary cardiac condition, which manifests later in life and was not previously evident on regular cardiac screening.
“We are all absolutely devastated for Enock. 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,” said Club chairman Tony Bloom.
“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.”
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.”
Mwepu joined Brighton & Hove from Red Bull Salzburg in July 2021 on a four-year deal for an undisclosed fee.