Ask an Educator: School Sport - Epilepsy Queensland

Ask an Educator

"Can my child with epilepsy participate in school sport or exercise?"

‘Of course they can!’ is our first response.

The second response ought to be, ‘So what’s the plan? What do we need to know?’

There may be some restrictions depending on:

  • Are the child’s seizures controlled well?
  • The type of school sport – water sports in particular may need a more thought out plan.

There are plenty of ways for your child to stay active and exercise!

Let’s consider the following…

  • Very rarely, exercise is a trigger for seizure activity. For most children with epilepsy, the benefits of exercise far outweigh the risks.
  • Recent research is showing that exercise and being physically fit may lessen risks of seizures! Stay tuned as more research is done in this area.
  • A person with rare tonic-clonic seizures who roller blades every weekend, stays safe by wearing a helmet, knee and elbow pads. Even people without seizures should wear protective gear with many activities like this!
  • Always have a buddy when swimming or water sports; someone that knows life-saving techniques and seizure first aid.

People with epilepsy have no greater chance for injury during contact sports than people without epilepsy. The chances of serious injury are small compared with the positive effects of team participation.

  • Repeated concussions aren’t good for anyone. Someone with seizures who has had other concussions should talk to their doctor first.
  • Consider the type and frequency of seizures when thinking about these sports. What would happen if you had a seizure while playing football, hockey or soccer?
  • Wear the right protective gear for each sport.

Most individuals with epilepsy can safely exercise in a gym, use exercise equipment, and do other types of exercise. A few thoughts…

  • Again, use a buddy system, when using equipment such as weights or bike riding
  • Try bike paths or quiet residential streets instead of roads. Don’t forget the helmet!
  • Avoid using a treadmill alone because falling can lead to major injuries. It’s better to run outside or on a track.
  • Start small and don’t tackle long periods of exercise right away!
  • Take frequent breaks and drink plenty of fluids.
  • If you tire easily, exercise in small amounts. Even 15 to 20 minutes at a time helps!

People with uncontrolled seizures should avoid dangerous activities like scuba diving, rock climbing, skydiving, hang gliding, and mountain climbing.

Recreational activities are very important for socializing and happiness too. Finding the balance between a safe life and an active life is possible! Thinking ahead and making a few changes is all that’s needed to stay active!

Epilepsy Queensland