Texas State highlights epilepsy awareness

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Epilepsy Foundation of Central and South Texas giving an epilepsy training class to students, faculty, San Marcos locals.

Photo courtesy of Office of Disability

Ivy Sandoval

Texas State’s Office of Disability Services teamed up with the Epilepsy Foundation of Central and South Texas on April 8 to bring epilepsy episode assistance training to campus in celebration of World Health Day.

ODS welcomed students, faculty and locals to Texas State’s first We Are One Initiative event. The event gave the community an opportunity to increase their awareness and knowledge of epilepsy.

The We Are One Initiative is a plan ensuring all Texas State faculty, staff and students are not only trained to deal with students who experience epileptic episodes, but provide knowledge on what epilepsy entails.

EFCST is a foundation that strives to help people with epilepsy define their lives not by their diagnosis and to lead active, productive lives in a supportive community. The foundation offers different programs including seizure clinics, information and referral, outreach and support services, summer youth programs and a variety of educational courses.

EFCST presented a class in the LBJ Student Center over the different types and causes of epilepsy as well as instructions on dealing with an epileptic episode.

Jessica Storm, programs manager for the EFCST, said she found her passion for helping others with epilepsy after a close encounter with the disorder in her family.

“I became involved with EFCST after my father had a seizure,” Storm said. “I love working at EFCST, where I can provide educational programs to those affected by epilepsy in Texas.”

Haralan Ballard, outreach and retention coordinator for the Office of Disabilities, said the epilepsy training will be available every semester.

“The way it was brought about was one student recognizing another having an episode,” Ballard said. “This is something so important to know about; we immediately knew we had to do something about it.”

Most seizures last a few minutes, and there is typically not a need to call 911 unless the seizure lasts longer than five minutes, the person is having difficulty breathing or having repeated seizures. There may be additional reasons to contact emergency services if the person is injured, pregnant, sick or does not return to their usual self.

For students who may not know how to act in the event a person is undergoing a seizure, there are six main things to remember.

1. Stay with the person and start timing the seizure. Remain calm and check for a medical ID.

2. Keep the person safe. Move or guide them away from harmful objects.

3. Turn the person onto their side and do not block their airway. Place a soft item under their head and loosen tight clothes around the neck.

4. Do not put anything in their mouth.

5. Do not restrain the person.

6. Stay with them until they are awake and alert after the seizure.

Kaitlyn Gonzales, exercise and sports science senior, said she encourages others to attend and learn more about the topic.

“I’m glad the epilepsy training was put on because I’ve had experience with a friend having a seizure, and I honestly don’t know what I would have done if (the friend) hadn’t told me about the condition prior,” Gonzales said. “I think it’s definitely important to have as many people as possible attend because you never know what could happen and it could save someone’s life.”

ODS is now planning on hosting the epilepsy training each semester and working on increasing the attendance. They plan to host the next training in Fall 2019. For information on epilepsy or the EFCST visit efcst.org.

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