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Genetic Heart Disease Ends Career of NCAA Football Player

Genetic heart disease ends career of NCAA football player

Nana Asiedu

Nana Asiedu was expected to be one of the key contributors to Penn State football this fall, but the true freshman has announced that his football career is now over.

Asiedu revealed Wednesday on Twitter that he has hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, a genetic heart disease, and it’s causing him to retire from the game of football.

"These past couple of weeks have been the toughest time in my life..I've handle this situation pretty well even though it is hard to swallow...well with that being said I have a genetic heart condition called hypertrophic cardiomyopathy due to this condition I can no longer play football anymore...this hurts because football was my everything by God has others plans for me...With love and support from Coach Franklin and the Penn State staff I'll still be on full football scholarship and still be apart of the team in every aspect!! This is one reason why I chose penn state because of the security and they'll never go back on their word...this is truly a curse and a blessing and I just thank God for giving me this opportunity that I will never take for granted. #WeAre"

Per the Mayo Clinic, hypertrophic cardiomyopathy “is a disease in which the heart muscle (myocardium) becomes abnormally thick (hypertrophied). The thickened heart muscle can make it harder for the heart to pump blood.”

Penn State followed up with a statement confirming Asiedu’s medical condition, saying the school still will honor his scholarship.

“It has been determined Nana Asiedu is not able to play football for Penn State University due to medical reasons,” the statement said.

“We will honor his scholarship as he pursues his degree from Penn State. While this is difficult news, we are excited to have Nana continue to be a major part of our Penn State football family.”

Asiedu also said he will still be able to participate in some activities with the football team, but any rigorous activities are off limits.

Per NCAA rules, a player with a medical hardship can stay on scholarship but will not count against the team’s 85-member scholarship roster. Asiedu plans on majoring in either business or communications and is grateful to Penn State for honoring its commitment to him.

“With love and support from Coach Franklin and the Penn State staff, I’ll still be on full football scholarship and still be a part of the team in every aspect,” Asiedu said. “This is one reason why I chose Penn State because of the security, and they’ll never go back on their word.”

A four-star offensive lineman from Virginia, Asiedu was the No. 11 offensive tackle in the Class of 2018 per 247 Sports.

He was a two-time team captain at North Stafford High School and the first player in the school’s history to participate in the Army All-American Bowl.

Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy has, unfortunately, claimed the lives of other athletes who didn’t even know they had the disease.

Former basketball player Hank Gathers, who grew up not far from Penn State’s campus, died in 1990 after collapsing during a West Coast Conference Tournament game while he was at Loyola Marymount.

Just three years later, the Celtics’ Reggie Lewis — who grew up in Baltimore, a couple of hours away from Asiedu’s hometown — collapsed during an offseason practice and was unable to be resuscitated by police officers on the scene.

Gathers was 23 years old while Lewis was 27, and autopsies revealed that both players had hypertrophic cardiomyopathy.

Story Credit: https://www.westernjournal.com/wc/genetic-heart-disease-ends-career-of-ncaa-football-player/