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Football stars boost UCB epilepsy campaign

Posted by
Jesús Sobrino, UCB Iberia
Spanish football club Atlético Madrid is helping to raise awareness of epilepsy in Spain as part of an ongoing UCB awareness campaign.

Now in its sixth year, Getting to know epilepsy makes us equal, has become a valuable school-based initiative for normalising epilepsy among children.

It offers teachers and students the skills they need to handle seizures and aims to reduce stigma by promoting dialogue and understanding. More than 80,000 children have been reached since the programme was launched.

This is the second year that the Atlético Madrid Foundation has added its voice to promote the idea that children with epilepsy can live normal and active lives, which include playing sport.

In this video, Belgian international Yannick Carrasco who plays for Atlético, plays football with a group of children – some of whom have epilepsy. It was shown to football fans in the stadium during a pre-match warm-up session and at half time. The message is clear: an epilepsy diagnosis is not a barrier to exercise or participation in team sports.

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A press conference was also held on 28 April at a school ahead of an Atlético game to publicise the campaign.

The initiative is spearheaded by UCB Iberia and has been a great success. A total of 131 media reports on it have been recorded, reaching an estimated audience of 26 million. A huge social media campaign has also been rolled out with support from Atlético and Carrasco who have 2.2 million and 150,000 social media followers respectively.

The project has picked up a number of prizes including a Best Ideas Award from a specialised health newspaper and recognition from the Spanish Neurology Society.

Around 65 million people worldwide are affected by epilepsy. This includes six million people in Europe, of which 400,000 are in Spain. The disease can occur in people of all ages but, of the 20,000 news cases diagnosed in Spain last year, at least half were recorded during childhood or adolescence.

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