Sporting practice of children and adolescents with well‐controlled epilepsy Volume 16, issue 2, Avril-Mai-Juin 2004

Clinique pour la Neurologie et la psychiatrie des enfants et des adolescents, rue Dr Subotica 6a, 11 000 Belgrade, Yougoslavie (Serbie et Monténégro)

A majority of epileptic patients are able to participate in sports and physical education and have to be encouraged to take part in these activities. With certain precautions only few sports and exercises have to be avoided. A group of 182 children and adolescents with complete or favourable seizure control, aged 8 to 18 years, without physical and mental impairments, was analyzed as regards to their participation in sporting activities. In addition, some psychosocial issues of these activities were assessed by questionnaires completed by patients, parents and teachers. The questionnaire given to patients revealed that both parents and\or teachers discouraged a subgroup of 25.3% of epileptic patients from sport practice and physical education. Nearly half (47.2%) of the patients studied were engaged in at least one of the sports (mainly football, athletic and basketball). Competitive team sports were reachable for 28 patients only. Even 56 (30.8%) of children and adolescents with epilepsy were non‐swimmers. The interference of some clinical and psychosocial factors with sport practice was determined. Great number of parents (41.7%) stated that sporting activity could aggravate seizure control and provoke seizure related injuries. Seizures occurred during physical activities in only 4 of 86 children and adolescents being involved in sports. No severe accidents and cranial‐cerebral injuries were associated to the exercises. Favourable and stable seizure control and well‐tolerated and adjusted antiepileptic treatment were not sufficient prerequisite to remove the great misconceptions, prejudices and overprotection that prevailed in parents and teachers. Better education of patients, parents and society regarding epilepsy is necessary to promote self‐confidence in epileptic children and adolescents and to improve their quality of life.