The 1968 statement of the Committee on Children with Handicaps, "The Epilpetic Child and Competitive School Athletics," is restated with considerable modification.1
The responsibility for weighing the risks involved in athletic participation should be shared by the parents, the physician, and the child. Such risks should be weighed against the psychological trauma resulting from unnecessary restriction of physical activities. Parents should participate in all decisions. To the degree appropriate to the age and judgment of the child, his or her wishes should be considered. The young athlete must be taught that there is a risk of injury and he or she should be prepared to impose voluntary restrictions on physical activity depending upon the nature and frequency of seizures.
Proper medical management, good seizure control, and proper supervision are essential if children with epilepsy are to participate fully in physical education programs and interscholastic athletics. Common sense dictates that situations in which a seizure could cause a dangerous fall should be avoided. These situations include rope climbing, activity on parallel bars, and high diving. Swimming should be supervised; no competitive underwater swimming is acceptable Participation in contact or collision sports should be given individual consideration according to the specific problem of the athlete. Epilepsy per se should not exclude a child from hockey, baseball, football, basketball, and wrestling.
Physicians who take care of childen who are involved in athletics should realize that in today's culture, sports and athletic activity are extremely important to young people and that unnecessarily strict interpretation of medical conditions may in fact do more harm than good.
- Copyright © 1983 by the American Academy of Pediatrics