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Benefits Of Playing Sports With Epilepsy

People with epilepsy are often concerned about playing a sport or exercising because of the fear that a seizure can come at any moment. Families get concerned as well that exercise can be triggering for their child or loved one, which increases the restriction that is put on the epileptic. Exercise improves fitness, energy and mood which can help to relieve stress. Improving overall health and wellbeing in this way can help reduce seizures and the impact of epilepsy for some people. 

Newly Diagnosed

 

A very common question after being newly diagnosed with epilepsy is,"Am I going to play the sport I love again?" The answer is YES! But sports are an important part of any child's life, and in most cases, sports are safe for children and adults with epilepsy. After you are diagnosed with epilepsy, there will be many life adjustments that are going to happen, and finding out how to control your seizures will be the first thing to take on. It will be hard to put your sport on hold or reduce your active lifestyle until you find out what works best with your epilepsy. 

Doctor Approval

 After your are diagnosed with epilepsy you will meet with a neurologist who will assist in making a game plan to best help control your epilepsy and reduce your seizures. Whether it is by medication, dietary treatment or surgeries you will slowly find the adjustments that suits your epilepsy needs. As your seizure are controlled and monitored, your doctor can give you the best information on how to return to your sport or activity in a safe manner. 

Does Exercise Increase The Chance Of Having A Seizure?

Physical activity doesn't worsen epilepsy and in many cases, it may even improve seizure control through improved overall health. People with epilepsy can safely participate in most sports. Even contact sports have not been shown to trigger seizures. For many epileptics, physical activity does not trigger a seizure, but with proper precaution and modifications needed in some sports to keep you safe will allow you to continue to exercise and stay active. Participating in  physical activities and sport may improve physical and mental outcomes for athletes with seizure disorders or epilepsy. 

Risk Factors Of Sports & Epilpesy

Understanding your own epilepsy can help you decide what type of exercise or sport suits you. This includes knowing what  happens during your seizures, whether there is anything that triggers your seizures, and telling other people how they can help you if a seizure happens. Many sport or exercise activities can come with overexertion, dehydration and other factors that can lead to a triggerIt ultimately comes down how severe your seizures are and to take extra precaution in certain activities.

Returning To Play

Once you have found the right medication or treatment to control your seizures, it is time to get moving again! As you return to your sport or activity it is very important to know your limitations, but it is also very important if you are in a team sport to make others aware of your epilepsy. A seizure can happen at any moment, on the court, field, track or anywhere else it can happen. As it may be embarrassing, you will want to have a support system ready for you during your sport to keep you as safe as possible. Educate your teammates, coaches and team parents on seizure first aid steps so everyone can be prepared.

  • Extreme fatigue

  • Lack of sleep

  • Dehydration 

  • Elevated body temperature

  • Low blood sugar levels

  • Stay hydrated and eat something before exercising

  • Get plenty of rest 

  • Don’t continue exercising if you feel faint, lightheaded, nauseous 

  • Don’t overexert yourself

  • Monitor overheating

  • Wear protective gear if needed

  • Make sure you are accompanied if in water sports

  • Let family or friends know your walking, jogging or exercise route if you will be by yourself 

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