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January 2, 1978

Epilepsy and Sports

Author Affiliations

The Samuel Livingston Epilepsy Diagnostic and Treatment Center Baltimore

JAMA. 1978;239(1):22. doi:10.1001/jama.1978.03280280022003

To the Editor. —  We would like to express our disapproval of the 1976 revision of the booklet Medical Evaluation of the Athlete: A Guide, which was prepared by the American Medical Association Committee on the Medical Aspects of Sports. We were stunned by its declaration that persons with a "convulsive disorder not completely controlled by medication" be automatically and summarily excluded from participation in collision (football, hockey, lacrosse, rugby), contact (baseball, basketball, soccer, wrestling), and noncontact (crew, cross-country, swimming, tennis, track, volleyball) sports.This prohibition is almost totally inconsistent with Committee statements of 1968 (206:1291, 1968) and 1974 (229:820, 1974). In 1968, the Committee stated that the epileptic patient whose seizures are under reasonable control "should be encouraged to participate in... any sports of interest with the exception of boxing, tackle football, ice hockey, diving, soccer, rugby, lacrosse, and other activities where chronic recurrent head trauma may occur." From