Brighton and Hove Albion midfielder Enock Mwepu announced on Monday that he must medically retire from the sport. The 24-year-old Zambian has a hereditary heart condition that can worsen over time.

According to a statement from the club, Mwepu’s condition can lead to a fatal cardiac arrest. Playing soccer at a competitive level can increase chances of that.

Mwepu and medical teams discovered the condition after the midfielder picked up an illness traveling to international duty with Zambia. Upon further cardiac tests, doctors picked up a condition that manifests itself later in life.

The player arrived at Brighton and Hove Albion in the summer of 2021 from RB Salzburg. The south England club paid just over $25 million for his services following a strong stint in Austria. In his time in England, Mwepu made 28 appearances for the Seagulls, including six games this campaign. In his time at the AMEX, he scored three goals in all competitions, and collected a further seven assists.

Mwepu has to medically retire from soccer

The midfielder released a post on Twitter describing his feelings over the diagnosis. He has plans to stay involved with the sport in some capacity, even if it is not on the playing level.

Officials within Brighton also expressed their sympathies. Roberto de Zerbi, who took over for Graham Potter, said he circled Mwepu as a name he looked forward to coaching.

“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,” de Zerbi said. “We will do everything we can to help him.”

Brighton and Hove Albion chairman Tony Bloom added to the sentiment.

“We are all absolutely devastated for Enock,” Bloom wrote. “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.

Brighton’s next fixture is on Friday, an away trip to Brentford. The next game at home is against Nottingham Forest on Tuesday, Oct. 18.

PHOTO: IMAGO / Pro Sports Images