Article, published in Epilepsia
People with epilepsy (PWEs) are often advised against participating in sports and exercise, mostly because of fear, overprotection, and ignorance about the specific benefits and risks associated with such activities. Available evidence suggests that physical exercise and active participation in sports may favorably affect seizure control, in addition to producing broader health and psychosocial benefits. This consensus paper prepared by the International League Against Epilepsy (ILAE) Task Force on Sports and Epilepsy offers general guidance concerning participation of PWEs in sport activities, and provides suggestions on the issuance of medical fitness certificates related to involvement in different sports. Sports are divided into three categories based on potential risk of injury or death should a seizure occur: group 1, sports with no significant additional risk; group 2, sports with moderate risk to PWEs, but no risk to bystanders; and group 3, sports with major risk. Factors to be considered when advising whether a PWE can participate in specific activities include the type of sport, the probability of a seizure occurring, the type and severity of the seizures, seizure precipitating factors, the usual timing of seizure occurrence, and the person’s attitude in accepting some level of risk. The Task Force on Sports and Epilepsy considers this document as a work in progress to be updated as additional data become available.