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.

Next Up


Gophers coach Kill, wife to be spokespeople for epilepsy awareness

Golden Gophers football coach Jerry Kill and his wife, Rebecca, are stepping up on behalf of the two million Americans who suffer epileptic seizures by becoming spokespeople on behalf of the disorder. Jerry Kill has suffered epileptic seizures for the past 13 years, and was recently hospitalized after suffering a seizure after the Gophers' loss to Northwestern Oct. 13.

Coach Kill released from hospital after suffering seizure

University of Minnesota head football coach Jerry Kill was released from the hospital Sunday morning, the Pioneer Press reports. He suffered a seizure in the locker room following the loss to Northwestern at TCF Bank Stadium on Saturday. The team's physician told WCCO that Kill plans to resume his coaching duties on Monday as the Gophers prepare to play at Wisconsin.