In the 23rd minute of an Albanian Superliga game between FK Egnatia and Partizani, tragedy struck. Raphael Dwamena collapsed on the field and died on Saturday.
The former Red Bull Salzburg academy player, who won nine caps for Ghana between 2017 and 2018, was stretchered off the field and despite attempts to resuscitate him, he was later pronounced dead.
The talented striker’s stop-start career was blighted by his heart issues, and, despite calls for him to retire earlier, Dwamena was unable to step away from the game he loved.
Dwamena’s amateur career began at Red Bull Ghana before his switch to Austria to play in Salzburg. But it was at Austria Lustenau and then FC Zürich where Dwamena announced himself as a top forward, scoring 21 goals in 51 games in the single season he played for the latter in 2017-18.
A history of heart problems
Dwamena’s career was held back by a heart condition that was first diagnosed in 2017. In that year, a move to Premier League club Brighton that would have been worth €11.4 million fell through when he failed a medical exam based on his heart issues.
In 2020, while at Spanish club Levante, he was fitted with an implantable cardiovascular-defibrillator (ICD), the type that was fitted to Christian Eriksen after his cardiac arrest on the field in 2021, and has been fitted to other players with heart conditions.
The ICD allowed Levante’s club doctors to monitor his heart during games. in October 2020, following a move to Danish club Vejle Boldklub, he was stopped from taking to the pitch after his ICD showed values that were considered too high.
A year later in October 2021, Dwamena was back in Austria playing for Blau-Weiss Linz, when he collapsed on the field during a game. His ICD shocked him back to life but the game was abandoned and his career in Austria was over.
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