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August 12, 1974

Epileptics and Contact Sports

JAMA. 1974;229(7):820-821. doi:10.1001/jama.1974.03230450054030

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It is logical that anyone with seizures should not subject himself to repetitive head trauma. Unfortunately, when considering the issue of contact sports for epileptics, there is little more to go on than this apparent logic. Most physicians, in addition to regular anticonvulsive therapy, empirically recommend rest, good food, and physical and mental activity; also, they urge parents and associates to treat the patient as normally as possible.

On the basis of such recommendations, the Committee on the Medical Aspects of Sports took the position in 1968 that, after a thorough medical evaluation and after medical control of the seizure disorder had been established, young people with convulsive disorders could participate in sports. The Committee, at that time, had taken the position that contact sports such as boxing, tackle football, ice hockey, diving, soccer, rugby, lacrosse, and other sports involving chronic recurring head trauma should be avoided. This advice was