- Posted by Drew Epperley
- On May 18, 2010
- 2 Comments
- Early Retirement, Generation adidas
This post over at the 24th Minute got me thinking. The news yesterday broke about Toronto FC rookie defender Zach Herold retiring. Due to some issues that were out of my hand I didn’t get around to talking about it until today.
For those who aren’t aware Herold was drafted in the second round by Toronto and was a Generation adidas player. During the preseason the Toronto medical staff conducted the usual preseason tests on the players and Herold’s tests came back with some concerns for the doctors. It was learned that Herold suffers from the condition Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (HCM) – which causes abnormal thickening of a part of the heart muscle. With this condition, under strenuous exercise, there is a risk of developing a potentially fatal irregular heart rhythm, or arrhythmia.
In other words retirement was really the only option for Herold at this point.
This brings up an issue that I don’t think has really been discussed before with MLS and its players. We know clubs typically screen and check for things when a player signs, that part is standard but with rookies coming into the league don’t you think it’s time the league starts checking for things a bit earlier, like at the MLS Combine? You’d think this and maybe a few others in the past would have been seen sooner.
I also wonder how Herold and his family weren’t aware of this condition sooner. Now I don’t know Herold’s background or anything like that but to me it seems like you’d know about something like this a bit sooner in life. Now I’m not blaming him here for not knowing, I think I am just a little more shocked he didn’t know.
There’s no blame to TFC here in my eyes. They knew it was a gamble and a long-term project to take Herold in the second round. It is good to see them stand up and help the kid out though and ensure is health is the top priority here.