Enock Mwepu: Brighton midfielder forced to retire after hereditary heart condition diagnosis

Enock Mwepu has been forced to retire. Credit: Brighton and Hove Albion

Brighton and Hove Albion midfielder Enock Mwepu has been forced to retire after being diagnosed with 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, according to the club.

Enock Mwepu, a Zambian national, began his career in his home country before signing for Austrian club Red Bull Salzburg in 2017.

He joined Brighton & Hove Albion as a midfielder in 2021.

The midfielder was taken ill while on a flight to join up with Zambia during the international break. He spent a period of time in hospital in Mali, before returning to Brighton to undergo further tests.

Enock has been advised that for the sake of his own safety, it's best for him to stop playing football.

Enock Mwepu has had to call time on his playing career. Credit: Brighton and Hove Albion

In a statement Enock said: "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 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 especially everyone at Brighton & Hove Albion."

Club chairman Tony Bloom said they are all "absolutely devastated" for the young star.

"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," Mr Bloom said.

“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.”

Head of Medicine and Performance, Adam Brett said it is a "terrible blow" for the midfielder.

He said: "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.”