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Stella Starfish wants to play sports! – Chapter 4, Epilepsy and Sport

Stella Starfish wants to play sports! – Chapter 4, Epilepsy and Sport


It’s not fair, it’s just not fair. What’s the matter, Stella. Why are you so sad? I love football. But the sports teacher won’t allow me to play on the pitch. I am never picked for a team. I have to sit on the side-line and watch everyone else having fun. It’s just not fair. Is it because you are a girl that you are not allowed to play? No! I think it is because I have epilepsy and the teacher is afraid that I will have a seizure during the game and no one will know what to do. It makes me sad because my classmates think that I’m different to them because I can’t play football. I have epilepsy too! In the beginning, my teacher was afraid to let me play. He was worried that I might get hurt if I had a seizure during a game and he wouldn’t know what to do. My Mum and Dad arranged to have someone from the epilepsy association come and explain everything. Now I play football all the time. And I swim and cycle as well! That sounds like a great idea, Campi. I am going to talk with my Mum and Dad and maybe everything will be better. Hello, children. I’ve come to talk to you today about epilepsy and sport. Sport is really important for everyone because it keeps you healthy and lets you have fun with your friends. And it teaches you how to work as a team as well. There are some things we can think about that will help make sure a person with epilepsy is safe when they are playing a sport. And it’s important that their Mums and Dads check with the doctor first to make sure it’s not a sport that could be dangerous. OK!
OK! The doctor will consider: • when your seizures happen • whether you get any warning that a seizure is going to happen and • what would help make the activity safer for you. There is no reason why someone who has epilepsy can’t play most sorts of sport. But a few sports aren’t suitable because you could easily hurt your head. Like boxing, for instance. Or bunjee jumping! Bunjee jumping?! Has anyone tried that? Nooooo!! No sport is completely safe, even for people who don’t have epilepsy, and there are some sports that it is best not to do – like bunjee jumping or white-water rafting. Which sports ARE ok? Some activities are OK as long as you take special care: For instance, you should never swim on your own or in water that is too deep. Does anyone know when water is too deep? When you can’t stand up in it without the water covering your mouth? Yes, that’s right. When you are young, swimming on your own or in deep water is not a good idea even when you don’t have epilepsy. You know, it is best to play any sport with a friend and not to be alone. Because sport is all about having fun with your friends! I play tennis with Tuno and I have great fun – because I always win! I play basketball and our team never wins but we have great fun. And that’s what’s important – right?! Yes, that’s right. We can’t always win, but we can always have fun! When you are playing a sport, always remember to use the safety equipment for whatever sport you are playing – that’s especially important for people with epilepsy! You should always wear a helmet when you are riding a bike, and only ride where it is safe and away from cars. It’s a good idea to wear a bright coloured jacket – like the ones that are yellow and light up in the dark? They are called hi vis jackets. I like to ride my bike but I like playing football much more. Football is quite safe for you to play, Stella. It’s not a problem for someone with epilepsy to have occasional seizures while playing football. But it is a good idea for the coach and maybe some of the team members to know what it is and what to do if a seizure happens. Then everything will be OK and you will be able to have fun! Now, before we finish, has anyone got any questions for me? Yes, I have a question. When can we go and play football? You can go right away! Have fun!

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