Epilepsy didn’t slow down former Ohio State quarterback Justin Fields during his college career, and he has no intention of letting it do so in the NFL.
Sources say teams became aware during the pre-draft process that Fields manages epilepsy — a neurological disorder that can cause seizures, but hasn’t affected Fields’ football career and doctors are confident he’ll grow out of, as his other family members have.
Diagnosed as a youth, Fields has seen his symptoms get shorter and less frequent over time, and he doesn’t have seizures as long as he takes his medicine, a source said. He’s projected as a first-round pick in next week’s NFL Draft, which begins with the first round on April 29.
Sources say team medical staffs have discussed Fields’ treatment plan and whether any events during his NFL career, such as a concussion, could put him at greater risk. But Fields has no documented absences from games during a college career in which he was a Heisman Trophy finalist and two-time Big Ten Offensive Player of the Year, leading the Buckeyes to a national championship game appearance this past January.
Fields wouldn’t be the first NFL player to excel with epilepsy. Pro Football Hall of Fame guard Alan Faneca took medication to control seizures throughout his career. In 2007, Baltimore Ravens standout safety Samari Rolle had three major seizures, keeping him out of six games before doctors corrected his medication and he returned to the team.
With the Jacksonville Jaguars widely expected to take Clemson quarterback Trevor Lawrence at No. 1 overall and BYU quarterback Zach Wilson the favorite to go to the New York Jets at No. 2, Fields could be in play, along with Alabama quarterback Mac Jones and North Dakota State quarterback Trey Lance, as high as the No. 3 pick by the San Francisco 49ers.