18-05-2010, 05:39 PM
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Football Player, Zac Herold, forced to retire before first pro match.
Football is sometimes described as a game of immortals. Whether it be on the club or international stage, it's a sport in which men some might consider well past their prime can be the spark of a team or magical title run. This, however, will not be the case for 17-year-old Toronto FC rookie Zachary Herold. The club announced Monday that due to a serious heart condition, their 2010 MLS SuperDraft second-round pick will be forced to retire before playing his first professional match.
Says TFC's official website:
Herold suffers from the condition Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (HCM) – which causes abnormal thickening of a part of the heart muscle. With this condition, under strenuous exercise, there is a risk of developing a potentially fatal irregular heart rhythm, or arrhythmia. Unfortunately the only way to reduce this risk is to put significant life-long restrictions on exercise.
On Saturday, May 22 the team will honor the 2010 MLS SuperDraft pick in a ceremonial coin toss before the 1 p.m. ET kick-off against the New England Revolution at BMO Field.
A sad story about a promising young talent who has had his dreams dashed due to a health condition he has no control over, but at least now he's aware of his life-threatening condition.
Herold, who passed on interest from the Bundesliga's FC Cologne to join MLS, is coping with the situation as well as one can hope:
“Announcing my retirement from soccer at this age is something I never, ever thought would happen to me,” said Zac Herold. “I am grateful to Dr. Smith, and all the specialists I’ve seen over the last few months – this news was very hard to take but I know it’s the best decision for me and my health. My parents have been with me every step of the way, and it means so much to me that I’m able to `retire' as a Toronto FC player. The whole team has been wonderful to me and my family and although it’ll be a tough day, I’m looking forward to seeing everyone on the 22nd."