Former Black Stars striker, Raphael Dwamena, unfortunately lost his long battle against a heart condition that hindered him from reaching the top level of his career.
The 28-year-old prolific striker passed out on the field after suffering what was his second cardiac arrest during a league match in Albania on Saturday, November 11, 2023.
He tragically passed away through the process, leading to the game being abandoned.
Raphael Dwamena’s heart complications were no new to many as it became topical after his move to the Premier League fell through.
His devastating death has sparked questions about why he chose to play football despite his medical condition.
It appears that the dazzling attacker could not let go of his dream of playing football at the greatest level and could not let go of his passion.
Dwamena first received news of having complications with his heart after failing Brighton and Hove Albion medical in 2018.
He almost secured a bumper deal to the Premier League after a stunning campaign for FC Zurich. Both clubs had agreed on a £13.8 million but the move fell through.
Due to his promising talent, he earned a move to La Liga side Levante at the same window, signing a four-year contract. After a difficult, first season, he was loaned out to Real Zaragoza in July 2019.
In October 2019, he was diagnosed with heart conditions again after undergoing a new examination a year after failing medicals at Brighton.
Zaragoza terminated his contract as doctors proposed that he quit playing football.
However, Dwamena opted to have an implantable cardioverter-defibrillator (ICD) in January 2020 to aid him to continue doing what he loved.
He returned to football in August 2020 when he secured a move to Danish side Vejle Boldklub.
Speaking after his return, resilient Dwamena said he was never afraid to play with the complications and that God takes care of his heart.
“Obviously, it was not a good feeling to have to leave football, it was a hard blow to stop playing at that time. But I knew that I would play again because God is always faithful and is always with me,” he told El Periodico De Aragon.
“Taking the news was not a problem. And the media will publish everything they hear, that’s not something new, it always happens.
“At all times. I always feel like nothing is wrong with me. I believe that God is the one who takes care of my heart. I may have symptoms of heart problems or other things, but I am never afraid. God is with me.
On doctors proposing retirement to him, he said: “Each doctor has his own opinions and I respected them, I looked for different evaluations. I respect their roles and jobs, but my wish was to get back to playing and do everything possible to achieve it.”
Two months later, his contract was terminated after his heart problem was diagnosed again.
His third diagnosis kept him out for almost a year as he joined Austrian side BW Linz in June 2021.
In November of that year, he suffered a cardiac arrest during BW Linz’s OFB Cup game against TSV Hartberg.
Dwamena collapsed on the sidelines in the 20th minute during the OFB Cup round of 16 against Hartberg but the team doctors came to his rescue and was subsequently rushed to the hospital.
Speaking in an interview after his recovery he said, he had ‘an electric shock from the defibrillator’.
“I received an electric shock from the defibrillator. It hurts and knocks you off your feet. But I didn’t collapse,” the forward said as quoted by Ghanasoccernet.
“I want to have another check done in the next few days or weeks. If everything is okay, I’ll be back on the pitch and play. I’ve always played without any problems,” he added.
He took a break from football and was reported to be considering retirement but he could not let go of his passion so he joined Egnatia in Albania in December 2022.
In what turned out to be his last season in his professional career, he bowed out with an astonishing scoring record of scoring 12 goals in 12 games and providing one assist in the ongoing 2023/2024 season. He was the club’s highest top scorer.