Columbus, OH,
22:02 PM

ABC6/The Columbus Dispatch/10TV: Justin Fields Drafted in First Round, Despite Report Of Epilepsy

Justin Fields has done so much on the football field. A storied high school career, an amazing run as the leader of The Ohio State University football team, and now a first round pick of the Chicago Bears in the NFL draft.  Just before the draft, reports surfaced that Fields also has a neurological condition called epilepsy.  The Center for Disease Control, or CDC, describes epilepsy as the following:

  • Epilepsy is a disorder of the brain that causes seizures. 
  • Epilepsy can affect people in very different ways. This is because there are many causes and many different kinds of seizures. Some people may have multiple types of seizures or other medical conditions in addition to epilepsy. These factors play a major role in determining both the severity of the person’s condition and the impact it has on his or her life.
  • The way a seizure looks depends on the type of seizure a person is experiencing. Some seizures can look like staring spells. Other seizures can cause a person to collapse, shake, and become unaware of what’s going on around them.

While the specifics of Fields case are unclear, there are past studies that point to no clear link between playing contact sports and an added concern with worsening symptoms.

And in some cases with epilepsy, children can grow out of it.

“Upwards of 70% of children who develop epilepsy can grow out of it,” Dr. Emily Klatte, OhioHealth System Chief, Epilepsy told NBC4.

 Additionally for many, symptoms can be kept at bay with medication. For others there have been big advancements in surgical options.

“A big piece of management for epilepsy is lifestyle,” Dr. Klatte said. 

As a world-class athlete, OSU head coach Ryan Day told reporters that Fields takes great care of himself.  

As for sheer numbers, 1 in 26 people have the possibility of getting epilepsy at some point during their lifetime.

“You don’t really know who has epilepsy. It’s often a silent disease,” said Dr.Klatte told NBC4.  “With that number, 1 in 26 people who have epilepsy, that’s a lot of people,” she said.

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