Former La Liga star Raphael Dwamena chose to have his defibrillator removed a year before he collapsed and died on the pitch, according to his cardiologist.
The 28-year-old, who played for Levante and Zaragoza in Spain, passed away on Saturday after falling to the ground during an Albanian league game while playing for KF Egnatia against Partizani.
Other players rushed over after the incident in the 24th minute of the match and, despite immediate medical intervention, he could not be revived.
Dwamena’s cardiologist, Dr. Antonio Asso, has since opened up on the player’s heart condition, which he said was a ‘serious ventricular arrhythmia’ and subsequently having a defibrillator inserted – before making a ‘personal decision’ to remove it.
‘He died as a result of a respectable personal decision,’ said Asso, as per Spanish outlet Sport. ‘But if the defibrillator had not been explanted, Raphael would still be alive.’
Speaking of the player’s initial discovery of a heart problem, he explained how he advised the player to quit professional football and how the defibrillator had saved his life on one occasion.
‘We managed to convince him of the imperative need to implant a defibrillator to at least guarantee his life, at the same time that we advised against practising professional sports,’ he added.
A couple of years ago they told me that the defibrillator had saved his life when he had a malignant arrhythmia that had been correctly treated automatically by the device. We subsequently lost contact.
‘From that moment on, I was aware that one day the tragedy that occurred on Saturday on a soccer field in Albania would happen.’
He called Dwamena a ‘great and noble boy’ and said he was ‘determined to follow his professional career’ but ‘ended hope of influencing him’.
Dwamena, this season’s top scorer with nine goals in the Albanian Super League, made eight appearances for Ghana and scored twice.
He signed for Levante in 2018 and played one season before being loaned out to Zaragoza, where he played in 2019-20. His career also included stints in Spain, Denmark and Switzerland.
An official statement from the Ghana FA following his death read: ‘The Ghana Football Association is sad to hear of the death of our former player Raphael Dwamena and wish to express our deepest condolences to his family at this difficult moment.’