Enock Mwepu has been forced to retire at the age of 24 due to a hereditary heart condition, Brighton have announced. Brighton chairman Tony Bloom says the club are “devastated” at the news of the Zambian’s diagnosis.
Mwepu was taken ill on a flight to join up with the Zambia national team during the recent international break. He spent time in hospital before returning to Brighton to undergo further cardiac tests.
And he was diagnosed with a hereditary cardiac condition, which hadn’t shown on previous screenings. Brighton’s statement outlined the danger of Mwepu continuing to play professional football.
The statement read: “Enock Mwepu has been forced to end his playing career following the diagnosis of a hereditary heart condition. The condition, which can 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.”
Shortly after the announcement, Mwepu took to social media to thank everyone who has played a part in his football career. And he insists he wants to remain in the game in some capacity.
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He wrote: “A boy from a small Zambian township called Chambishi has some news to share. He stood strong to follow his dream of playing football at the highest level, and by the grace of God he lived his dream by reaching the Premier League.
“Some dreams however come to an end, so it is with sadness that I announce the need to hang up my boots because of the medical advice I have received. This is however not the end of my involvement with football, I plan to stay involved in some capacity.
“I would like to take this opportunity to thank everyone that supporter me in my football journey, including my wife and family, my agent 12MAN, the Zambian FA, all my previous clubs, team-mates and coaches, and especially everyone at Brighton and Hove Albion.”
Mwepu started his career at NAPSA Stars in his home country and also had a spell at Kafue Celtic. He moved to Europe with Red Bull Salzburg in 2017 and had a season on loan at fellow Austrian side FC Liefering in 2017/18.
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He only joined Brighton in the summer of 2021 on a four-year contract. He scored three times for the south coast club, including a fine effort in a memorable 2-1 win at Arsenal in April.
Brighton chief Bloom insists the Seagulls will do all they can to help Mwepu and his family through this difficult time. He said: “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. 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.”
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Brighton’s head of medicine and performance, Adam Brett, explained why the right decision has been made. He 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.”
“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.
“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.”
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