More than a match; It's Go-pher Epilepsy Awareness Game


Nebraska and Minnesota won't be the only teams meeting at TCF Bank Stadium Saturday. A for-profit company and non-profits that promote epilepsy awareness are joining forces to sponsor Go-pher Epilepsy Awareness Game.

The Star Tribune reports the Anita Kaufmann Foundation is taking advantage of Head Coach Jerry Kill's epilepsy to demystify the condition.

“Anytime we see we have someone [like Kill] who can help us, we just grab them because we need everyone” to help promote epilepsy awareness, said Debra Josephs, the foundation’s executive director.

A Japan-based pharmaceutical company called Eisai will distribute rally towels with its logo for the game. The company makes and markets drugs that treat epilepsy.

“We’re not marketing anything during the game," Eisai spokeswoman Laurie Landau told the newspaper. "Sponsoring a football game is somewhat unusual for us.” Eisai also will have people in action-hero costumes at the game to distribute comic books explaining details of epilepsy.

The Epilepsy Foundation of Minnesota is making sure fans with epilepsy will be among the spectators.

Middle-schooler Alex Fischer, a football player from Wayzata who takes up to nine pills a day to control his seizures, will be introduced at the game. "It'll probably be a warm environment for me," he said. The Pioneer Press reports he will also go to Washington D.C. in March to lobby for a cure. "It's like when you play football," the 13-year-old Fischer said. "When you get knocked down, you get back up."

Head Coach Jerry Kill will be there too. He remains on leave from the team in an effort to gain better control over his epilepsy. Kill hasn't coached since suffering a seizure before the game at Michigan earlier this month.

Epilepsy affects 60,000 people in Minnesota and North Dakota, and more than 2 million Americans, according to the Epilepsy Foundation of Minnesota.

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