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How Football Changed My View of Epilepsy

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For many people, Sundays are known for one thing: football. Whether you’re a player or die-hard fan, you understand the game. After years of watching the Buffalo Bills playing and my younger brother play, it occurred to me that epilepsy can easily be compared to football. I bet after you read this article, next time you watch your team play you’ll see the game in a new way.


No game starts without a kickoff, and that applies to epilepsy. While our “kickoff” — our first seizure — is a bit different, it still sent us on our path to beating epilepsy. Football is known as the gridiron sport, and we sure can find ourselves in a gridiron battle with epilepsy. Our first seizure dictated the way we would live our life from that point on. Just like the receiving team, the return dictates the way the drive starts. I believe if you find a way to take your first seizure as a positive, it will change the way you look at epilepsy.

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First Down

The biggest key to an offensive drive is to pick up the first downs. Without getting first downs, the game would simply not be fun to watch! People who battle epilepsy get their first downs every time they overcome a challenge related to their epilepsy. It could be overcoming another seizure, brain surgery, coping with not being able to drive, etc. If we didn’t look at our “first downs” or mini accomplishments in our battle, it would just seem like a lengthy battle with a little light at the end of the tunnel. Please, acknowledge your “first downs” — it will help dramatically.


It’s what makes the game fun, and what we root for during the game. Scoring a touchdown means the world to the players (hence all the celebrations) and it should to you too. An epilepsy touchdown can mean so many things: successfully overcoming seizures, controlling seizures, continuing to work with doctors to maintain your seizures, etc. Touchdowns should be celebrated with people who helped throughout your fight. For me, it would be my family, college “family” and doctors. Just like the players, celebrate your touchdown! Let loose and show the world you are beating epilepsy.

Shoutout goes to my brother and his Williamsville East High School football team for giving me the inspiration to write this.

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Photo by contributor.

Originally published: November 14, 2017
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