Brighton midfielder Enoch Muepu has been forced to retire aged 24 after being diagnosed with a ‘hereditary heart condition’.

Brighton Midfielder Enock Mwepu was forced to retire aged 24 after being diagnosed with an inherited heart condition.

Mwepu fell ill while on a flight to join the Zambian squad during the recent international break.

After a spell in hospital in Mali he returned to Brighton to undergo further heart tests.

Mwepu was forced to retire aged 24 (Image: Alamy)

“These tests concluded that his illness is due to an inherited heart condition, which manifests itself later in life and was not previously apparent in a regular heart check,” the club said in a statement.

“Unfortunately, this can be exacerbated by playing sports, so Enoch has been advised that the only option, for his own safety, is to stop playing football.”

The statement added: “The condition, which can worsen over time, would put Enock at extremely high risk of suffering a potentially fatal heart attack if he continued to play competitive football.”

Mwepu released his own statement on Monday explaining his decision to retire and outlining his plans for the future.

“A boy from a small town in Zambia called Chambishi has some news to share. He stayed 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,” said Mwepu. , in a statement published on Brighton’s website.

“Some dreams, however, come to an end, so I regret to announce the need to hang up my boots due to medical advice I have received. This, however, is not the end of my involvement in football. I plan to remain involved in some capacity.

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

Brighton manager Roberto De Gerby has expressed his admiration for Mwepu, who only joined the Seagulls from Red Bull Salzburg in 2021.

“I feel very sorry for Enock. Before I arrived I looked at the whole 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,” De Zerbi said.

The midfielder fell ill while traveling on a flight to join the Zambia squad (Image: Alamy)
The midfielder fell ill while traveling on a flight to join the Zambia squad (Image: Alamy)

Brighton’s head of medicine and performance, Adam Brett, added: “It’s a terrible blow for Enoch, but he has to put his health and his family first and this is the right choice, as difficult as it is to stop the game who loves “

“Of course, as this is Enock’s career and a decision that cannot be taken lightly, we have taken our time to be as thorough as possible, completing advanced cardiac investigations and working with clinical experts to obtain the best second views on Enock’. Brett added.

“We will help him ensure that the condition is managed with appropriate treatment so that he can otherwise live a long and healthy life.”

After impressing for Salzburg over four seasons with the Austrian club, Mwepu joined Brighton on a four-year deal in 2021.

He went on to make 27 appearances for the Seagulls, scoring three times – including a superb goal against Liverpool in last season’s 2-2 draw at Anfield.

Brighton chairman Tony Bloom also expressed his sympathy for Mouepou and confirmed the Premier League club will continue to support the player following his departure.

“We are all absolutely devastated for Enock. He and his family have had a traumatic few weeks and while we are grateful he has made it through this time, he has seen a promising career cut short at such a young age,” said Bloom. .

“As a club we will give him all the love, help and support we possibly can to get him fully recovered and then as he decides on the next steps in his life.”

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