Penn State recruit forced to quit football by heart condition
Nana Asiedu’s football career is no more. The incoming freshman at Penn State announced Wednesday night he has a heart condition that will prevent him from playing football again.
“These past couple of weeks have been the toughest time in my life,” Asiedu wrote on Twitter. “I have a genetic heart condition called hypertrophic cardiomyopathy.”
The disease, which is marked by thickened walls of the heart and ventricular cells arranged in a disorganized manner, is found in 1 in 500 people, according to the American Heart Association. Some people experience irregular heart rhythms that on rare occasions — often during strenuous exercise — can lead to cardiac arrest.
“You really can’t play football with this condition,” said Dr. Arthur Feldman, a cardiologist and professor at Temple University Lewis Katz School of Medicine. “It’s just too dangerous.”
Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy in young people is a genetic disorder that often does not produce symptoms. It can be detected with an electrocardiogram (EKG), which is typically done after physicians find warning signs such as chest pain or dizziness, or a family history of heart problems.
He came to Penn State from North Stafford High School in Stafford, Va., where he was rated a four-star recruit by three recruiting services.
The condition is among the most common causes of sudden death in young athletes, according to a national registry created by the Minneapolis Heart Institute Foundation.
In his Tweet, Asiedu said he will still attend Penn State on a full football scholarship and “be a part of the team in every aspect.”