(ISN) – LAS VEGAS – June 4, 2014 – Simon Keith, the first athlete to play a
professional sport after undergoing a heart transplant will be
featured in an ESPN E:60 profile. Keith, one of the longest-living
heart transplant recipients in the world, will be the subject of the
feature detailing his most unique journey as an athlete who overcame
so many obstacles to become the first to ever play professional sports
after the procedure. Twenty-five years after the transplant, Keith now
uses his experience to help others through The Simon Keith Foundation.
E:60 – “The Best Stories in Sports” – covers stories that relate to
both American and international sports. Reporters from the network
interview those surrounding the stories, and they also discuss what
was involved in covering the stories. Many of the stories’ subjects
are of a serious nature. E:60 is a weekly investigative journalism
newsmagazine show appearing on the ESPN networks.
ESPN crews will be in Victoria with Simon the weekend of Friday June
5th through Tuesday June 10th, 2014. Among the heavy filming schedule
will be scheduled appearances by Simon at the Victoria Highlanders vs.
Portland Timbers U-23 soccer game, Saturday June 7th at 7:00 PM and
the Victoria HarbourCats vs. Cowlitz Black Bears baseball game,
Tuesday June 10, at 7:00 PM, both at Royal Athletic Park.
Keith’s story begins in Victoria, BC, Canada in 1986. A supremely
talented young soccer player, Keith had his sights set on playing for
his country in the 1986 World Cup in Mexico. Unfortunately, he never
made that trip. He was diagnosed with a fatal heart disease and given
only a few weeks to live.
Then something extraordinary happened. Perilously close to death,
Simon received the gift of a heart donation. Simon was given a second
chance as he received a new heart from the most ironic of donors, a
young soccer player in Wales struck down in the prime of his life.
Following his heart transplant, not only did Simon return to play
professional soccer becoming one of the best players in North America
for the second time, he went on to live the life he always dreamed of
having. He has lived a rich and glorious life, from professional and
personal success, to the joys of family and fatherhood.
More than 25 years after receiving his new heart, Keith reflected on
all he gained and decided to seek out the family of the young man who
had donated his heart. He wanted to learn more about the young man who
died tragically and whose heart still beats within his chest. He
simply wanted to thank them for all he had received.
While this life-changing meeting in Wales culminated an incredible
journey that began in Canada, Keith continues to inspire in all of
North America. In 2011, he created The Simon Keith Foundation, a
501(c)(3) not-for-profit organization dedicated to increasing organ
donor awareness and educating transplant recipients. Keith also wrote
and published his biography – Heart for the Game – which he released
in 2012 in Victoria.
Keith was recently inducted into the Southern Nevada Sports Hall of
Fame, and has been named one of Las Vegas’s Most Intriguing
Personalities for 2014.
Heart for the Game is available on Amazon, I-Tunes and through the
Simon Keith Foundation website at www.thesimonkeithfoundation.com.
Quotes from Heart for the Game
“I have spent my professional career playing against some of the
greatest athletes in the world. Each train hard, have a burning desire
for their sport and have inevitably overcome some kind of adversity. I
have never met an athlete who overcame Simon’s circumstances. To say
the odds of playing soccer again were overwhelming doesn’t even begin
to explain what he did.”
-Steve Nash, two-time NBA Most Valuable Player
For additional information about Keith, please go to
For additional information about E:60, please go to www.espn.go.com/espn/e60