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Sunday 31 August 2014

Epilepsy ended rugby dreams of my son Luke (10) -- Schmidt

Eimear Rabbitte

Published 18/01/2014 | 02:30

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Repro Free: 17/01/2014
Joe Schmidt, Ireland Rugby Coach lined out for epilepsy with a new TEAM at the Aviva and asks us all to Be Seizue Aware in Advance of European Epilepsy Day. 

Joe Schmidt, Ireland Rugby Coach (and father of 10 year old Luke, who has epilepsy) lined out for epilepsy with a new TEAM, James Devine (age 10) from Mullingar, Joar Ryan (age 5) from Swords and Sean Delaney (age 11) from Swords (who all have epilepsy) asking us all to Be Seizue Aware by remembering TEAM when responding to a seizure,
T - Take care to protect the person
E  Ensure you stay with them
A  Allow the seizure to run its course
M  Move the person on to their side when the seizure is over.
Get in training now ahead of European Epilepsy Day on February 10th. Picture Andres Poveda
Joe Schmidt, Ireland Rugby Coach (and father of 10 year old Luke, who has epilepsy) lined out with James Devine (age 10) from Mullingar, Joar Ryan (age 5) from Swords and Sean Delaney (age 11) from Swords Photo: Andres Poveda
Repro Free: 17/01/2014
Joe Schmidt, Ireland Rugby Coach lined out for epilepsy with a new TEAM at the Aviva and asks us all to Be Seizue Aware in Advance of European Epilepsy Day. 

James Devine (age 10) from Mullingar and Sean Delaney (age 11) from Swords who both have epilepsy got a private tour of the Aviva by Joe Schmidt, Ireland Rugby Coach (and father of 10 year old Luke, who has epilepsy) as they prepair to line out for epilepsy and ask us all to Be Seizue Aware by remembering TEAM when responding to a seizure,
T - Take care to protect the person
E  Ensure you stay with them
A  Allow the seizure to run its course
M  Move the person on to their side when the seizure is over.
Get in training now ahead of European Epilepsy Day on February 10th. Picture Andres Poveda
James Devine (age 10) from Mullingar and Sean Delaney (age 11) from Swords who both have epilepsy got a private tour of the Aviva by Joe Schmidt, Ireland Rugby Coach (and father of 10 year old Luke, who has epilepsy) Photo: Andres Poveda

Ireland rugby coach Joe Schmidt has spoken out to raise awareness about epilepsy, after years of watching his son suffer "debilitating" seizures.

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Ten-year-old Luke was diagnosed with a severe case of the condition at the age of four, and has undergone numerous brain surgeries since then.

Schmidt, who was appointed Ireland head coach last year, said that the condition limits some of the things his son can do, including playing sport, despite being a big rugby fan.

"He played it a little bit, he's not allowed to play any more because of the amount of surgery he has had," Schmidt said.

This week, Luke was hit by 15 seizures in the space of one day.

"He's had it since he was four when they removed a very sizeable tumour, which caused some tissue damage. But as a result of that it's something that he's learned to cope with.

"The condition is made a lot less debilitating by the support he gets in school and he's got some great friends who pick him up and they keep him going," said the 48-year-old New Zealand native.

"We have a fantastic school, Stratford National School, that does a good job; we are well looked after by the neurology department in Crumlin Hospital; and surgically, Donncha O'Brien at Beaumont Hospital has done a great job."

There are 40,000 people in Ireland who suffer from epilepsy, which is described as a group of long-term neurological disorders characterised by epileptic seizures.

Schmidt, who was on hand in the Aviva Stadium in Dublin to promote the Be Seizure Aware campaign yesterday, said it was very important for people to be aware of what to do if someone had a seizure.

More information is available on epilepsy.ie ahead of European Epilepsy Day on February 10.

Irish Independent

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