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Nobody had ever questioned the heart of former UNLV standout Simon Keith on the soccer pitch until July 7, 1989, in Wichita, Kan. Al Miller, then general manager of the Cleveland Crunch of the Major Indoor Soccer League, approached Keith at the Budweiser All-Star Senior Bowl for top American college soccer players and cut to the chase.
“Word is you have some kind of heart problem?”
Keith responded by fist-bumping his own chest.
“One in,” he said, “one out.”
Keith then scored a goal and assisted on two others.
One in. Two more in.
Over a plate of lettuce wraps, former UNLV soccer player Simon Keith realized, come November, he will have lived with his second heart longer than his first.
When he received a heart transplant at Papworth Hospital in England in 1986, he thought, “If I get 20 years out of this, I’m good.”
“Well guess what? I’m not good,” he says. “I want more than 20 years. I know my 10-year-old son wants me to have more than 20 years, ’cause I’m at year 21.
Soccer Player With Transplanted Heart Upsets Thinking About Rehabilitation
This was one scouting report the general manager had to check out himself. He walked up to Simon Keith, who was about to become his team’s top draft pick of the Major Indoor Soccer League (MISL), and asked for clarification.
“I understand you’ve got some sort of heart problem, some sort of valve job or something,” said the GM. Keith knew it was time to give yet another skeptic an education. He pointed to his chest, looked the GM square in the eyes and left no doubt about his medical status.
SPORTS PEOPLE; A Soccer Tale
The Cleveland Crunch of the Major Indoor Soccer League has signed its No. 1 draft choice, Simon Keith of the University of Las Vegas, but that’s only half the story. Keith has been living the last three years with a transplanted heart.
Keith received the heart from an English soccer player who had died of a blood clot on his brain while playing. Keith’s own heart was damaged by viral myocarditis, a weakening of the heart muscle.
”He is a unique individual and I’m happy to have us be a part of his story,” said Al Miller, the Crunch president and general manager. ”Simon is the rare combination, outstanding soccer player and outstanding human being.”(AP)
The Cleveland Crunch wanted to draft Simon Keith, but first there were a couple of questions the newest team in the Major Indoor Soccer League (MISL) wanted to ask him. So at a luncheon the day before the college soccer all-star game, in Wichita, Kans., last July 7, Al Miller, the Crunch’s general manager, introduced himself to Keith, a 24-year-old forward from the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. Then Miller backed into the questions: “The word is that you had some kind of heart problem.”
“Yeah,” Keith said.
“What was it?” asked Miller.
“Uh, now what exactly does that mean, Simon?”
Keith pointed to his chest and said…
Simon Keith dominates Bud Showcase
Three years ago, Simon Keith was dying of heart disease at age 21. Then he got a heart transplant. Now he’s a pro soccer team’s top draft choice.
American Journal of Athletic Training