When Gerald Asamoah collapsed after a match in September 1998 aged just 20, his future looked uncertain. Examinations finally revealed chronic hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (thickening of the heart muscle) as the cause. News of this congenital heart defect and the doctors’ advice to retire from football came as a bitter blow. But Gerald decided to accept the challenge of returning to a normal life. Examinations by specialists in the USA revealed that the risk of cardiac arrest could be ruled out with 99% certainty. Gerald decided to accept the remaining 1% risk and get on with his life and his football career. Although he has to take medication and the German Football Association has ruled that a defibrillator must be kept by the pitch at each match he plays in, this has not detracted from Asa’s brave decision.
Not everyone is as lucky as Gerald, who can enjoy life to the full and even play professional football despite a serious heart defect. Children suffer most from conditions of this kind. As a father of three, this was reason enough for Gerald to put his good fortune to use by helping others – with the Gerald Asamoah Foundation for Children with Heart Conditions.