Brighton have announced that Enock Mwepu has been forced to retire at the age of 24 following the diagnosis of a hereditary heart condition.
The midfielder joined the Seagulls in the summer of 2021 after leaving Red Bull Salzburg.
Since then, he has made 27 appearances and scored three goals. Due to a significant health concern, his career has suddenly been drastically cut short, forcing him to hang his boots. During the most recent international break, Mwepu became ill on a flight to connect with the Zambian team; spending time in the hospital before returning to Brighton to undergo cardiac testing.
Seagulls’ chairman Tony Bloom wrote in the club’s official website;“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 can to make a full recovery; then as he decides on the next steps in his life.”
Brighton boss Roberto De Zerbi added, “I am so sorry for Enock. Before I arrived, I looked at all the squad; he was a player I was so excited and looking forward to working with. We will do everything we can to help him.”
Tests have shown that Mwepu suffers from a hereditary cardiac issue which manifests itself later in life and can not always be spotted in regular heart screening. As playing sport can make the condition worse, the tough decision to bring his professional career to a close has been taken.
Mwepu released a statement of his own, thanking those who helped him achieve his dream.
“A boy from a small Zambian township called Chambishi has some news to share,” he began.
“He stood strong to follow his dream of playing football at the highest level. 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 supported 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 specially everyone at Brighton & Hove Albion.”