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Port Vale captain, Leon Legge, shares his experiences with epilepsy and personal mission to educate others about epilepsy, a condition he has had since he was 16 years old. He says the has epilepsy has never been a problem for any of the football clubs he has played for.
Legge, who has been at Port Vale since 2018, talks about how he’s been using the time in lockdown to keep his fitness up, and play with his kids. He has even bought a bike and is taking the chance to go on long cycle rides. On when, and if, football should return as lockdown eases, Legge was clear that this should only happen when players’ safety can be guaranteed, as well as that of their families and clubs’ support staff.
Legge had his first seizure at a training session in 2004. He had uncontrolled epilepsy causing many seizures throughout the time his football career was getting off the ground. Fortunately, he has never experienced stigma from any club because of the condition. He said: “With that first seizure, I headed the ball, and as I came back down to the floor everything went black. I woke up seeing all my teammates around me. Fortunately, the coach had a daughter who has epilepsy so he knew what to do.
“My epilepsy has never been a problem to my football clubs. When I arrive at a new club, they take my medical history. We chat about what triggers my seizures and what they need to do if I have a seizure and that’s that. It shouldn’t be a stigmatised condition, but I know it often is.”
Legge is on a mission to tell as many people about epilepsy as possible: “Whenever I’ve spoken about it with teammates, or when my mates have asked questions, I see that it reassures people. More people need to know about epilepsy so it isn’t this big scary thing. Every case is different, but there is stuff that we can all relate to.”
When asked what his advice would be to someone who has just been diagnosed with epilepsy, Legge said: “Don’t be scared. There’s a lot of people out there with information. Take the advice from your doctors. Don’t be scared to be open about it, with your friends and family, they’re the ones who are there to help.”
Read more at Leon’s blog ‘Epilepsy Baller’: epilepsyballer.wordpress.com