5 players with serious health problems

Football is undoubtedly the most popular sport in the world.

The health benefits of playing football include; increase in aerobic capacity and cardiovascular health, low body fat and improved muscle tone, improved flexibility and endurance, increased muscle and bone strength.

Football players are faced with various health issues especially injuries. Common injuries include strains, sprains, fractures, dislocations and concussions.

There are however, other serious health concerns that can affect any football player which have sometimes led to their early retirement, disability or death.

Football players who have faced serious health issues

1. Nacho Fernandez: Diabetes

World cup

The Real Madrid and Spain defender was diagnosed with Diabetes -type 1, at the age of 12.

Diabetes, also known as diabetes mellitus, describes a group of metabolic diseases in which your body has high blood glucose (blood sugar), either because insulin production is inadequate, or because the body’s cells do not respond properly to insulin, or both. With type 1 diabetes, your body makes little or no insulin.

2. Fabrice Muamba: Heart attack

World cup

At the age of 24, Fabrice suffered a cardiac arrest and collapsed on the pitch on 17th, March, 2012 during a match between Bolton Wanderers and Tottenham Hotspurs.

Doctors later revealed that Muamba’s heart had stopped beating for an astonishing 78 minutes. He was given 15 defibrillator shocks before his heart started beating again.

A heart attack is a medical emergency in which the supply of blood to the heart becomes blocked and the heart can’t get oxygen, often as the result of a blood clot.

3. Nwankwo Kanu: Congenital heart defect

World cup

He was diagnosed with a congenital heart defect in August 1996 while playing for Inter Milan. He has since undergone 2 corrective heart surgeries.

A congenital heart defect is a problem with the structure of the heart. Congenital heart defects are the most common type of birth defects and are present at birth.

The defects can involve the walls of the heart, the valves of the heart, and the arteries and veins near the heart.

4. Stiliyan Petrov: Leukaemia

world cup

Stiliyan who played for Aston Villa in 2006 was diagnosed with acute leukaemia, specifically Acute Lymphoblastic Leukaemia.

Leukaemia is a cancer which starts in blood-forming tissue, usually the bone marrow.

It leads to the over-production of abnormal white blood cells, the part of the immune system which defends the body against infection. It hinders the body’s ability to fight infection.

5. Diego Maradona: Drug addiction

World cup

Maradona is regarded as one of the best players to have ever played football.

He has battled a series of health problems caused by years of cocaine and alcohol abuse. Maradona was sent home from the 1994 World Cup after testing positive for ephedrine.

He had also been previously suspended for 15 months from football for failing a drug test for cocaine in 1991.

Drug addiction, also called substance use disorder, is a disease that affects a person’s brain and behaviour and leads to an inability to control the use of a legal or illegal drug or medication. Substances such as alcohol, marijuana and nicotine also are considered drugs. Cocaine creates the greatest psychological dependence of any drug. It stimulates key pleasure centres within the brain and causes extremely heightened euphoria.


Are you or someone you know planning on travelling overseas for medical treatment for a chronic ailment e.g. cancer, knee or hip replacement, liver or kidney transplant; wellness checkup or to improve your form, shape or appearance through cosmetic procedures or reconstructive surgery?

Contact us on (+254) 0711 104 458, e-mail  or click us to request us to call you back.