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April 9, 1973

Participation of Epileptic Patients in Sports

Author Affiliations

From the Department of Pediatrics, the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, and the Johns Hopkins Hospital Epilepsy Unit, Baltimore.

JAMA. 1973;224(2):236-238. doi:10.1001/jama.1973.03220150044011

The athletic privileges of young people with epilepsy are often restricted by parents because of fear that injury might "make the epilepsy worse," or that resulting fatigue may precipitate further seizures, or both. The public in general tends to share these views; fortunately, many physicians and educators today believe that once a patient's seizures are under reasonable control, he should lead a normal life and participate in sports and other physical activities.

We have encountered many instances where parents of a child who had experienced only an occasional seizure considered him ill in the same respect as if he were afflicted with active tuberculosis or acute rheumatic fever. These children were encouraged and frequently compelled to rest and take daily afternoon naps.

These attitudes should be discouraged, since they are medically unsound and often do the patient more harm than good. The parents should be instructed to allow their children