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Simon Keith

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Simon Keith
Personal information
Full name Simon Keith
Date of birth (1965-05-25) 25 May 1965 (age 56)
Place of birth Lewes, England
Height 5 ft 8 in (173 cm)
Position(s) Forward
Youth career
1971–1983 Lansdowne Soccer Association
College career
Years Team Apps (Gls)
1984–1985 Victoria Vikings
1987–1989 UNLV Rebels
Senior career*
Years Team Apps (Gls)
1983–1984 Bromley FC
1989 Victoria Vistas 22 (5)
1990 Montreal Supra 9 (1)
1990 Winnipeg Fury 11 (0)
1989–1990 Cleveland Crunch (indoor) 52 (6)
* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only

Simon Keith (born 25 May 1965 in Lewes, England) is a British/Canadian soccer player. He is the first athlete to have played professional sports after having undergone a heart transplant.

Early life

Keith moved to Victoria, British Columbia, Canada in 1967. He played his youth soccer for the Victoria Boys Club and later the Lansdowne Evening Optimists. He went to Mount Douglas Secondary School from 1981 to 1983, where he played on a soccer team with notable teammates Jeff Mallett and John Hughes.

Keith played at the University of Victoria for the Vikings soccer team where in 1984 he was diagnosed with myocarditis, a deterioration of the heart muscle. In 1986, he was the recipient of a heart transplant. The surgery was done in Papworth Hospital outside London[1] by Dr. Mohsin Hakim and Sir Terence English.[2]

Sports career

Following recovery from his surgery, Keith moved to Las Vegas in 1987 to attend the University of Las Vegas where he played soccer for the UNLV Rebels with his older brother Adam. Keith won numerous awards at UNLV including the Student-Athlete of the Conference and USA's Most Courageous Athlete. Keith was the number one overall pick in the 1989 professional indoor soccer draft.[3] by the Cleveland Crunch of the Major Indoor Soccer League (MISL). Keith also played professionally for the Victoria Vistas, the Winnipeg Fury and Montreal Supra of the Canadian Soccer League.[4]


Keith spoke at the White House in 2016 as part of President Obama's Organ Summit. Keith has also spoken at the Canadian and British Parliaments and travels the world telling his story and inspiring others. Keith is now the CEO of the Simon Keith Foundation,[5] founded to increase awareness of organ donor awareness and educate transplant recipients. Keith is one of the longest-living heart transplant recipients and has lived the majority of his life with his second heart. In March 2019, Keith underwent his second heart transplant surgery along with a kidney transplant.

Keith belongs to the Southern Nevada Sports Hall of Fame and the Greater Victoria Sports Hall of Fame. In 2017, he was honoured as Canada's Humanitarian of the Year.


  1. ^ "Soccer Player With Transplanted Heart Upsets Thinking About Rehabilitation". Los Angeles Times. Victoria. 23 November 1990. Retrieved 27 September 2011.
  2. ^ "His heart was in the game". Victoria: Las Vegas Sun. 23 June 2007. Retrieved 27 September 2011.
  3. ^ LaFontaine, Pat; Valutis, Ernie; Griffin, Chas; Weisman, Larry (2000). Companions in Courage: Triumphant Tales of Heroic Athletes. Hachette Digital. ISBN 9780446527057.
  4. ^ "Simon Keith". Stats Crew.
  5. ^ "The Simon Keith Foundation".
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