Sun, May 13, 2012 - Page 2 News List

Epileptics, doctors run to protest ban on swimming

By Hung Su-ching  /  Staff reporter

A group of epileptics, their families and doctors yesterday took part in a running event with Taiwanese ultramarathon champion Kevin Lin (林義傑) in Taipei City as they urged swimming pool operators to lift a ban against epileptics from entering the pools.

They said the ban is a discriminatory regulation.

Swimming enthusiast Tu Pei-hsuan (涂珮萱) recounted how she was denied entry to swimming pools 10 years ago after having suffered seizures by a pool. To let her daughter continue swimming, Tu’s mother managed to obtain a swimming lifesaver license at the age of 41 so she could accompany her daughter to the pool.

Tu’s mother said her best wish for this Mother’s Day is that everybody could treat epileptics with a positive attitude and let them exercise like normal people.

According to Taiwan Epilepsy Society president Tony Wu (吳禹利), there are more than 300 swimming pools around the nation and more than half of them regulate that “drunk people, people who suffer from heart disease, epilepsy and high blood pressure are prohibited from entering [swimming pools]” or that “it is inappropriate for them to enter [the pools].”

Some outdoor recreation places also have similar rules prohibiting epileptics from entering.

Wu said if epileptics choose appropriate exercises and do these exercises regularly, those exercises could actually help them release surplus energy in their brains and reduce the discharges that prompt seizures.

Under the precondition that an epileptic’s condition is stable and that they heed their physicians’ orders to take medicine regularly and visit doctors regularly, they are actually advised to go outdoors and exercise, he said.

Wu added that in some countries, epileptics would wear purple swimming hats in the pool as a marker to tell lifesavers to watch them carefully as well as have family or friends accompany them in pools.

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