Mwepu’s club Brighton Hove and Albion announced in a statement on their social media pages that Mwepu had to withdraw from active football due to a hereditary heart condition.
The Seagulls revealed that there was no other option for Mwepu but to retire as the condition could worsen over time if he continued to play, potentially causing fatal cardiac arrest.
It’s a disappointing way to end a young and promising career, but it’s also a situation Mwepu welcomes, as it could have been worse had he not been diagnosed early.
Mwepu is not the first player to suffer from a heart condition, although some were luckier and some less so.
Pulse Sports takes a look at some of the players who also suffered from heart-related problems.
There is no better place to start than with Kanu Nwankwo. Kanu had to suspend his race due to a heart problem. The defect was found during his medical examination prior to his transfer to Inter Milan from Ajax in 1996.
Kanu had just led Nigeria to gold in the men’s soccer event at the ’96 Atlanta Olympics, but his medical at Inter revealed a serious heart defect.
The former Nigerian international underwent surgery following the diagnosis, but luckily for Kanu, the situation did not stop his career.
Although his time at Inter Milan did not go as planned, Arsenal took a chance on the Nigerian by signing him in 1999.
It was a big risk to sign Kanu due to his heart problem, but everything worked out perfectly and he became a cult hero at the club.
Kanu won two league titles and two FA Cups with the Gunners. The former Ajax man continued to play after leaving Arsenal, with spells at West Brom and Portsmouth, where he won the FA Cup.
Former Argentine striker Sergio Agüero is another player who fell victim to heart problems. Aguero first noticed the problem in Barcelona’s draw against Alaves last year.
The former Atlético de Madrid striker had to leave the pitch after complaining of chest pain. He subsequently missed three months of action because doctors had to figure out what went wrong.
After further testing, Aguero was found to have a cardiac arrhythmia, or irregular heartbeat.
The situation meant that Agüero had to stop his football career. But despite quitting soccer, Agüero still has a chip in his heart that alerts the doctor if there is any irregularity in his heartbeat.
The decision to leave football was a difficult one for Agüero, but unlike other players, Agüero had a largely successful career, winning numerous titles with Manchester City.
No football fan will ever forget the disturbing moment at Euro 2020: Eriksen’s body lying lifeless on the ground. The former Ajax man had the football world worried after he collapsed uncontested in Denmark’s clash with Finland at Copenhagen’s Parken Stadium.
It was an unpleasant and nervous situation for everyone, but luckily Eriksen’s life was revived. At that time, many thought that his football career as a professional footballer was over.
Remarkably, however, the Danish international returned to active football seven months later, albeit with the help of a pacemaker.
When Eriksen suffered his cardiac arrest, he was on Inter Milan’s books. But his contract had to be terminated as he was not allowed to play with a pacemaker in Italy.
However, Brentford offered him a chance in the Premier League by offering him a six-month contract. Eriksen had a successful spell with The Bees, but unfortunately for the club, he had to leave for Manchester United in the summer.
Like Eriksen, Blind also collapsed on the pitch, albeit on the training ground. While he wasn’t brain dead like Eriksen, he was still an unpleasant situation for his Ajax teammates. Blind collapsed not just once but twice before tests showed the Dutch star was suffering from myocarditis.
However, despite the two incidents, Blind continues to play for Ajax, albeit with a pacemaker.
Before Eriksen, the most notable incident involving a player collapsing on the soccer field was Fabrice Muamba. The former England Under-21 star collapsed on the pitch in a match between Bolton and Tottenham Hotspur in 2012.
Muamba’s situation was a traumatic incident as he literally died but was miraculously revived.
Muamba’s heart stopped working for 78 minutes and he had to remain under anesthesia in intensive care. Although he miraculously recovered from the traumatic experience, Muamba never played football again.
Marc Vivien Foe
The case of Marc Vivien-Foe is sad and tragic because, unlike the other players mentioned above, Foe did not survive his heart attack. The former Cameroonian international collapsed without any challenge in Cameroon’s Confederations Cup clash against Colombia in 2013.
Paramedics immediately rushed to the pitch to revive him, but he had to be rushed off the pitch, where he received mouth-to-mouth resuscitation and oxygen.
However, he never recovered, dying minutes after arrival at the hospital. An autopsy later revealed the cause of death to be hypertrophic cardiomyopathy.
Foe’s death remains one of the saddest moments in football, especially on the pitch.
As a child, there was a folklore that Samuel Okwaraji died in Nigeria’s 100-1 loss to India. However, that is not the truth. Although Okwaraji died on the pitch, he did not go in Nigeria’s clash with India because the match never happened.
Okwaraji died in 1989 after collapsing in Nigeria’s World Cup qualifier against Angola in Lagos. Like Foe, the cause of death was also hypertrophic cardiomyopathy.