Athletes with seizure disorders

Curr Sports Med Rep. Jan-Feb 2012;11(1):16-20. doi: 10.1249/JSR.0b013e318240dc2e.


Individuals with seizure disorders have long been restricted from participation in certain sporting activities. Those with seizure disorders are more likely than their peers to have a sedentary lifestyle and to develop obesity. Regular participation in physical activity can improve both physical and psychosocial outcomes for persons with seizure disorders. Seizure activity often is reduced among those patients who regularly engage in aerobic activity. Recent literature indicates that the diagnosis of seizure disorders remains highly stigmatizing in the adolescent population. Persons with seizure disorders may be more accepted by peer groups if they are allowed to participate in sports and recreational activities. Persons with seizure disorders are encouraged to participate in regular aerobic activities. They may participate in team sports and contact or collision activities provided that they utilize appropriate protective equipment. There seems to be no increased risk of injury or increasing seizure activity as the result of such participation. Persons with seizure disorders still are discouraged from participating in scuba diving and skydiving. The benefits of participation in regular sporting activity far outweigh any risk to the athlete with a seizure disorder who chooses to participate in sports.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Epilepsy / physiopathology*
  • Epilepsy / psychology*
  • Humans
  • Mental Health
  • Physical Fitness
  • Risk Assessment
  • Sports / physiology*
  • Sports / psychology*