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I wish I’d spoken about it – Jay Bothroyd reveals epilepsy battle during career

24 Mar 2024 2 minute read
Jay Bothroyd playing for Cardiff

Former Cardiff striker Jay Bothroyd has revealed some of the risks he took during his career while hiding epilepsy and wishes he had been open about his condition.

Bothroyd made a solitary England appearance in 2010, but concealed the fact he had seizures for the majority of his two decades in the game.

The ex-Arsenal trainee also believes there other players who are suffering from the condition but are keeping it secret.

During a wide-ranging interview with the Mail on Sunday, the 41-year-old disclosed an incident where he blacked out while driving and crashed his car in Elstree before he ended up in a prison cell “covered in all this blood” after he had another episode where he banged his head against a wall.

“I wish I’d have spoken about epilepsy earlier but I didn’t because I felt that they might give me a short-term contract or pay-as-you-play,” Bothroyd said.

“I never denied it, I just didn’t talk about it. I had to earn a living. I wanted security for myself and my family. There’s probably more footballers out there that have the same condition who won’t say anything.”

He added: “Epilepsy affected my performance. There were loads of times I had bad games because of it, when I wasn’t fully focused or I had in the back of my mind a worry like, ‘s***, I haven’t taken my tablets.’

“I once had a seizure and played two days later – because I said I wanted to. They said to me, ‘do you think you’re all right to play?’ and I said, ‘yeah’. They didn’t make me play, but they didn’t say ‘you shouldn’t play’.

“I scored in that game!

“It’s about results. Back then I couldn’t say, ‘sorry I can’t come in, I’ve had a seizure,’ because I think people would have looked at it like a sign of weakness.”

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