VICTORIA, BC – October 20, 2016 – Simon Keith, the first athlete in the world to play
a professional sport after receiving a heart transplant, will be inducted into The Greater
Victoria Sports Hall of Fame on Oct. 29, 2016 at the Westin Bear Mountain Resort in
Victoria, British Columbia.
Born in Lewes, England in 1965, Keith moved to Victoria in 1967. He began playing
soccer at age 4 for the Victoria Boys Club, later moving to the Lansdowne Evening
Optimist Patriots, a team that won multiple Vancouver Island Championships and
appeared in the Provincial Finals on two occasions.
Keith’s accomplishments in soccer were abundant. He was a city all-star, represented
Vancouver Island and the Province of British Columbia at the U-16, U-18 and Senior
men’s categories, as well as being included in the Canadian National Team program as
a U-19 and senior team. Keith attended Mount Douglas High School, playing two
seasons for the Rams highlighted by a third place finish during his 11th grade season
and his selection to the first All-Star Team. Upon graduation, Simon played for Millwall
in the English Third Division before returning to Canada to play for the University of
Victoria Vikes and joining the Canadian National Team program.
Keith’s personal story is also one of inspiration and perseverance. In a life-changing
event in 1984, Keith was diagnosed with myocarditis, a deterioration of the heart
muscle. Two years later, at the age of 21, he was the recipient of a heart transplant.
He then moved to Las Vegas in 1987 determined to return to the field of play. Keith
amazingly returned to competitive soccer playing for the University of Nevada, Las
Vegas, under head coach Barry Barto. He also had a chance to play along side his
older brother, Adam.
After playing two seasons with the Rebels, Keith garnered many honors including being
named the Student-Athlete of Year for the Conference as well as voted as USA’s Most
Courageous Athlete. After his senior season, Keith was named the Most Valuable
Player at the Senior Bowl and was drafted first overall into the Major Indoor Soccer
League, just three years after his heart transplant.
Page 2 – Simon Keith Inducted into The Greater Victoria Sports Hall of Fame
Today, Keith has turned his attention to helping others, becoming one of the most
notable and influential proponents of organ donation. In 2011, he founded The Simon
Keith Foundation, an organization which raises funds to benefit children who have
undergone a life-saving organ transplant who desire a return to an active and healthy
lifestyle and increase organ donor awareness.
Keith also serves as the Chief Operating Officer for the Nevada Donor Network, the
federally designated organ procurement organization serving Nevada. Under his
direction, NDN has become a model for organ donation and education, recovering more
organs per capita than anywhere in the United States.
Now one of the longest living transplant recipients in the world, Keith released his
autobiography – Heart for the Game – and also established The Simon Keith
Foundation in 2011. His incredible story was recently chronicled in an ESPN E:60
profile, titled Change of Heart.
Keith has appeared at the White House in 2016 at the inaugural Organ Donation
Summit and was named Canada’s 2015 National Humanitarian of the Year by the
David Foster Foundation. He is also a 2013 inductee into the Southern Nevada Sports
Hall of Fame.