Professional Footballers Australia (PFA) has today expressed its deep sadness after former Sydney FC midfielder Chris Naumoff announced his immediate retirement due to a heart abnormality.

During a mandatory medical assessment under taken by C.D. Numancia, it was found that there was an abnormality of Chris’ heart. After two follow up examinations from professional football related cardiologists in Madrid, and a final consultation with Professor Christopher Semsarian in Sydney, the condition was confirmed as Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy (HCM). HCM is a condition which involves thickening of the interior heart wall and introduces a risk of sudden cardiac arrest, in particular for professional athletes during activity. Apart from this finding there is no issue with his health and fitness.

PFA Chief Executive John Didulica said the players’ association would continue to support Chris in what has been extremely difficult circumstances for the Olyroo.

“Chris is one of Australia’s brightest talents and it is devastating to hear that his career has been cut short,” said Didulica.

“On and off the pitch he is hugely respected and admired by his peers and all in the Australian football community.

“This case highlights the precarious nature of professional sport and its inherent risks.

“Thankfully, the medical condition has been identified and the PFA will continue to work with Chris and his family to ensure he receives the best possible medical advice and support.”

Naumoff said he was thankful for the support of friends and family.

“To my family, friends and fans I would like to take this opportunity to explain the current situation regarding my professional football career. As some of you may be aware, I was fortunate enough to have signed a 3 year deal with C.D. Numancia in Spain – for me, a dream come true.

“How long this condition has affected me is unknown, and how this condition was not discovered during my time as a professional in Australia is a question for another day.

“As a result of these findings, in conjunction with the risks that come with the condition, the history of players with this condition, recommendations from the cardiac professionals and the international rules of the game, it is with great sadness that I announce my retirement from professional football.

“I would like to use this opportunity to thank first and foremost C.D. Numancia for finding this condition; their hospitality during this period was overwhelming. I would like to thank Sydney FC for providing me the opportunity to start my professional career. Also, thank you to all my junior clubs in which I spent time with prior to my professional career.

“In particular I would like to express special thanks to my immediate family and agent Miquel Riera for helping me through this difficult time.

“For me, I am grateful that this condition was found before any fatality.

“I encourage all professional or amateur football clubs and individuals to take out these tests to ensure all players can play the game risk free of potential fatality. The two simple but effective tests to diagnose this condition are an Electrocardiogram (ECG) and a Echocardiogram (Echo).

“I intend to stay involved with the game of football in one way or another, and hope my example can change the lives of athletes and set a precedent to better testing and awareness for the future and the wellbeing of all athletes.”



Beau Busch | Media and Communications Manager

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