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Summer Fun Series Part 2: Is Playing Sports Safe When You Have Epilepsy?

When you have a seizure disorder like Epilepsy the world can seem like it’s screaming NO at you all the time. All of a sudden you find yourself with restrictions, safety plans, and having to navigate difficulties you never had to consider before. So if you love to play sports you may be wondering if it’s even safe for you to continue to do this physical activity that you love so much. Are sports safe if you have epilepsy? Are there precautions you should take? Should you talk to your doctor? These are all great questions that I hope to help you answer.

Can Someone with Epilepsy Play Sports?

So let’s get down to it? Are sports safe when you have a seizure disorder? According to The Epilepsy Foundation, there are some factors you need to consider when answering this question. Some things that need to be factored into answering this question for an epileptic comes down to these few factors listed below:

All the above factors should be considered before deciding whether it is safe for someone with epilepsy or a similar seizure disorder should continue or start playing sports. While according to the video above for many with seizures sports aren’t something that should cause or aggravate your condition there are more rare cases where it could pose a problem. This is why this is a question we must consider our own unique case of epilepsy and history before reaching a yes or no.

How Do You Balance Safety with Playing Sports?

Creating an appropriate safety plan will look different for each epileptic as this seizure disorder varies so vastly. For the girl in the above video since she recovers quickly from her seizures having her doctor run with her was a good plan that allowed her to continue to run. Can we take a moment to give this doctor a huge round of applause for going to such lengths to help his patient? That is amazing!

For me as a teen when my seizures were uncontrolled, my meds often toxic or horrible side effects from meds, it seemed like taking up a sport would be a bad idea, but I firmly believe in not letting epilepsy dictate my life so I started martial arts in high school. I won’t lie. It was hard and my epilepsy definitely put a damper on things. For example, practicing kicks could be quite difficult when the room is spinning because of my medication, but I prevailed. My instructor and his wife who ran the school that I went to knew about my condition and every black belt there was given a rundown on what to do if I had a seizure. It helped greatly that one of the black belts was a doctor and more than once he saw the side effects were becoming unsafe and told me to sit down. While life has interfered and I still strive to return to martial arts and earn my own black belt, participating in this sport gave me a much-needed boost of confidence that helped me through those difficult years. It helped me feel normal and to me that was priceless.

A Few Tips to Keep in Mind When Creating Your Own Safety Plan:

A Last Word:

I am sorry I can’t give you a definitive yes or no to this question, but every person who has seizures is different. For you, the answer might be not now or to choose a new sport that is a bit safer than the one you currently like to play. Ultimately this is between you and your doctor. For me, my seizures didn’t happen every day and I was a pretty mature teen so my parents while nervous didn’t have a problem with me taking up a sport and neither did my doctor. Epilepsy doesn’t have to ruin your life. Epilepsy is only one small part of who you are. Don’t be afraid to go after what you want in life. Doing so will be harder for you and require more planning than your average person, but it can be done. If Cameron Boyce was able to have a successful acting career and athletes with epilepsy have made it to the Olympics why, not you?

Want some help with informing a coach or buddy about what to do if you have a seizure? Check out my FREE printable seizure safety guide. Print as many as you want or need. All information is from the Mayo Clinic and CDC so you can rest easy knowing the tips provided are accurate and safe. Just click the link below, enter your email, confirm your email in your inbox, and then a new email will be sent to you containing your free seizure safety guide!

FREE Printable Seizure Safety Guide

If you need help better understanding the different types of seizures to help your planning check out my Beginner’s Guide to Seizures!

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