Medical negligence solicitor Rekha Randhawa learnt about epilepsy and sport at a recent sports and social day

The Epilepsy Action Sports and Social Day took place at the Tottenham Hotspur FC-sponsored Centre of Excellence at Southgate College, North London on 20 June. The aim of the day was to provide a safe environment for those affected by epilepsy (of all ages) to have a go at different sports without the anxiety of having a seizure.

The day started with a talk from Dr Dominic Heaney, Consultant Neurologist at Queen’s Square and University College London Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust. Dr Heaney spoke about some of the research and studies that he has been involved and their findings. Participants found it encouraging to learn that many epilepsy sufferers found that they were less likely to have seizures when they were active or doing strenuous exercise.  Dr Heaney stated that with the right support and the relevant safety precautions, there was little that someone with epilepsy should need to avoid. Many people with epilepsy have their seizures completely controlled by epilepsy medicine and do not need to take any greater safety precautions than anyone else.

Dr Heaney’s talk was followed by an informal question and answer session in which some of the participants shared some of their anecdotes and experiences.  A number of participants reported that they found that taking part in sport and leisure activities really benefited their epilepsy. There was also a further opportunity for participants to ask Dr Heaney individual questions on a one to one basis.  Positive feedback was received from participants, who appreciated the opportunity to speak freely with an eminent Consultant Neurologist about safe activities for epilepsy sufferers without the constraints of a time-limited appointment.

Following Dr Heaney’s reassuring talk, there was a variety of activities and classes that participants got involved in, ranging from lighter and fun sports such as swing ball; hoola hooping; skittles; bat and ball; and didi cars; to more challenging and competitive activities such as volley ball , badminton, basketball and Zumba. The emphasis was on encouraging participants to ‘have a go’ and take part in activities that they were comfortable with and suited their own individual aims and needs.

For those that did not want to partake in the sports activities, there were baking workshops with participants baking scones, brownies and other goodies for the well-deserved afternoon tea at the end of day.

Following a boost of energy provided by the afternoon tea, a final volley ball match took place by all of the participants to end an enjoyable and energising day.

Rekha Randhawa of Leigh Day assisted in the recruitment of Dr Heaney to speak about safe activities for epilepsy sufferers, and volunteered on the day to help with the running of the event.

Leigh Day aims to work with Epilepsy Action in order to bring wider awareness to the practical challenges faced by epilepsy sufferers through the organisation of further events.