Statement from Epilepsy Foundation of Indiana on Cathedral Basketball Player Being Taunted for Having Battled Seizures

Ryan Keys, Executive Director of Epilepsy Foundation of Indiana

Saturday, December 1, 2018

Indianapolis — Members of our community brought to our attention that James Franklin, who has battled seizures and had successful brain surgery according to news reports, was mocked during a basketball game Friday night between Cathedral and Center Grove in Greenwood, Indiana. The media has reported that a student pretended to have a seizure to taunt James while he was at the free-throw line and this resulted in laughs from the crowd. We are outraged that someone in our epilepsy community would be made fun of in this manner. Seizures are not a laughing matter. Epilepsy is a brain disorder, and people with epilepsy may experience hundreds of seizures a day. James is an epilepsy warrior who should be celebrated for how he has battled his disease and not mocked.

Making fun of someone having a seizure is bullying at its worst. When someone engages in this type of behavior it is demeaning and hurtful not only to our epilepsy community, but also everyone else. In fact, such treatment can put people who have seizures at increased risk of injury and death. If someone is ridiculed for a medical problem, such as seizures, they are more likely to hide their illness and less likely to seek medical care or the help of others.

It is unfortunate that the bad behavior of this student only adds to the ignorance, misunderstanding and fears that exist about seizures. We are contacting both schools to discuss the matter and offer our free epilepsy trainings for school personnel and students.

This incident attests to the need for more awareness about epilepsy and seizures and underscores the need for Seizure Safe School legislation. The Epilepsy Foundation of Indiana is working to introduce legislation in the state that would make certain that school personnel are not only prepared, but can recognize and respond appropriately and efficiently to students with epilepsy.

About Epilepsy

Epilepsy is the underlying tendency of the brain to produce seizures, which are sudden abnormal bursts of electrical energy that disrupt brain functions. One in 26 people will be diagnosed with epilepsy during their life. In Indiana alone, there are almost 70,000 people living with epilepsy.

About the Epilepsy Foundation of Indiana

Epilepsy Foundation of Indiana serves people living with epilepsy in the state of Indiana. The Foundation supports the epilepsy community by fostering the wellbeing of children and adults affected by seizures through research programs, educational activities, advocacy, and direct services. For more information, please visit

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Contact Name: 
Ryan Keys | Executive Director
Contact Phone: 
(317) 402-3978
Contact Email: 

Our Mission

The mission of the Epilepsy Foundation is to lead the fight to overcome the challenges of living with epilepsy and to accelerate therapies to stop seizures, find cures, and save lives.

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