Epilepsy & Football
A quick intro to Daniel:
· He’s 28, from London and is a Performance Match Analyst at Watford Football Club
· His favourite food is: chicken curry with rice
· His Greatest inspiration is: his Grandmother
Epilepsy Joins Daniel…
My first seizure was witnessed by my grandmother and uncle when I was 7 and I remember it clearly. Over the next year I had a series of seizures and neurological tests before I was officially diagnosed with epilepsy. It’s turned out to be a huge part of my life, partially shaping who I am today.
Having epilepsy both as a child and as a teenager was very difficult. I didn’t have anyone to talk to and no-one understood what I was going through. Even I didn’t ever know what on earth was happening. All I knew was that this “funny thing” would happen to me and I would either black out and come back around, or fall to the ground first and risk injuring myself.
I used to use the phrase “I feel like I am in a black box with no escape” because that’s how epilepsy made me feel. It prevented me from doing what I wanted to do the most which was play football. For some reason, I would often have an episode whilst playing it.
It was in 2009 that my life started to change for the better. I had brain surgery for my epilepsy which involved the removal of a lobe from my brain. Having this surgery was a big decision but even today I am grateful that I chose to have it done. It enabled me to gain greater control over my epilepsy; I have gone from 3/4 seizures a day, to 1 seizure every 2 months! If I have a focal seizure now, I can carry on as normal after 20 mins rest. It’s only if I have a tonic-clonic seizure that I risk injury, become very tired and have to go to sleep.
Outlook On Life & Support
After surgery, my outlook changed because I started to focus positively on what I can do with my life and not what I can’t do (e.g. driving). I gained a greater sense of control and optimism and gained the confidence to make positive changes to my life – which included going to university.
I am so open about my epilepsy because I have fully accepted my diagnosis and I have wonderful, supportive relationships with my close friends and family. They make me feel “normal”, comfortable, do not judge me and offer me support when I need it. They encourage me to go out and do things rather than discourage me. Having a great support network around me has been and continues to be essential.
I now listen to and understand my body; meaning that I know my limits on certain days but now also do runs (and raise money for Epilepsy Action!). Epilepsy has built up my character and led me to challenge myself, push myself and never give up. I have my dream job in football and am full of confidence. I feel very comfortable with my life.
Tips for someone who has epilepsy:
· Understand your epilepsy and your body overall
· Recognise the red signals
· Accept that you have epilepsy and talk about it
· Don’t let epilepsy control who you are
· Rather focusing on what you can’t do, focus on what you can do and be the best you can be at that