Leon was first diagnosed at 16. He had been in a training session at football on a floodlit pitch and everything just went blank. He was sent to hospital to be monitored for the night, but they then discharged him.
A few weeks later it happened again, so he was sent to hospital to be assessed for a week. Shortly afterwards he was referred to a neurologist and diagnosed with epilepsy.
I didn’t know anything about epilepsy at first, so I wasn’t aware of what I could and couldn’t do. I was concerned that it would impact my football, but the main thing was that I wasn’t allowed to drive until I was 21. Other than that I just got on with things and didn’t let it get in the way of what I was doing.
Leon’s family were surprised to hear that he had epilepsy, but were really supportive:
My mum always stayed with me at the hospital.
However, there was not enough support. He given a few leaflets at hospital but that’s it:
Even now I don’t think there is enough information and I would definitely like to see more awareness.
Leon wanted to be a footballer ever since he was a child, although he didn’t sign until he was 24, which is considered to be quite late.
By this time I was looking at other options and was working with adults with learning disabilities, which I really enjoyed doing. I think I would have continued with that if the football hadn’t taken off.