NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport Ohio State quarterback Justin Fields confirmed with NFL teams during the pre-draft process that he’s managing epilepsy - a neurological disorder that can cause seizures. Rapoport said that it had not affected football, and doctors believe Fields will outgrow it as his other family members have.
Rapoport had a follow-up tweet saying, “the illness has not affected Justin Fields on the field, and other family members have outgrown it in their 20s. The prognosis from doctors is that Fields should be in the same situation. Fields’ symptoms have shorter and less frequent over the past few years.”
The information that teams have compared to the general public is vastly different. We aren’t privy to the medical information or how these players articulate themselves in interviews.
We haven’t seen Fields miss time on the field due to his epilepsy, but I’m fascinated to see if this story becomes bigger than it is. Perhaps if Fields does slide on draft day, this would be the reason.
Finally, Rapoport added that Fields has been taking his medication and hasn’t had any recent issues. Adding that it’s possible Fields has already outgrown it.
I reached out to a buddy of mine who is an MD locally. Here’s what he said about epilepsy:
Anything brain-related is always a worry, but if he hasn’t been affected by it yet, then I doubt it’s a concern for teams.
That’s the thing with the brain, it could be a single hit, and it causes an issue. It’s why my middle hasn’t started tackle yet. We had to get his migraines under control. Diet, hydration, vitamins. That way, if he has migraines during football, we know what it’s from.
It makes sense why he went vegan then. The alleged cause of so many issues is nitrates in foods. Veganism, you don’t have to worry about that.
More anonymous quotes, this time, for someone close to the Buckeyes program:
There was a rumor that Fields had a seizure in 2019 during workouts. He went vegan this past year. Some dietary things can trigger seizures, so maybe that’s why he changed his diet. He also is most definitely on some anticonvulsant meds, but those work really well. I know of people with epilepsy who go years between seizures.
The teams in the top-10 are aware of this. This feels like the real reason why Fields could potentially slip in the draft and why some pundits have been talking out of their you know what when it comes to Fields.
Justin Fields wouldn’t be the first NFL player to excel while managing epilepsy. Pro Football Hall of Fame guard Alan Faneca took medication to control seizures throughout his career. Fields was diagnosed years ago, and as long as he's taking his medication, he has had no issues.— Tom Pelissero (@TomPelissero) April 21, 2021