Cycling was the prescribed remedy for 17-year-old Thomas Goodall, who’s had epilepsy since he was five
When, in 2015, my doctor prescribed some ‘gentle’ cycling once a week, he probably didn’t bargain on what that would turn into today, where I crank out up to 200 miles each week. Dr Scott’s suggestion was to strengthen the left side of my body, which had been weakened enormously by the daily seizures I’d been having since I was five years old.
I was in Year 2 at school when I was diagnosed with epilepsy. I struggled to learn anything through that entire first year and it impacted my life enormously. I was constantly falling unconscious and wasn’t able to learn effectively until my seizures were under control. My education fell behind. It was brought under control, but reoccurred when I was 11 during my SAT exams, in the form of nocturnal seizures. I was taking – and still take – medication (Carbamazepine) for my condition, and try to stay relaxed and have early nights. That aside, I’m totally convinced that cycling has played a huge role in keeping my epilepsy under control. It’s a huge release that helps to clear my mind of everything else happening in my life. For some that might be stress at home or work, for me it’s epilepsy. Cycling is the only sport I’ve found in which you can channel the negativity in your life and turn it on its head, pushing harder and harder and breaking through barriers that you never thought possible. I have always done long distance cycling, from 30 miles to begin with up to 100 miles now. A century is always a challenge and I always feel proud when I make it to the finish. As for the future, I’m saving my money to buy a carbon race bike to take what I do to a more competitive level with criterium racing in Yorkshire. And I’ll carry on running my Facebook page, The Bike Bible, where I’ll continue to feature all those people who use the bike as a means to motivate others to do something amazing. This sport has an easy habit of doing that.
I’m totally convinced that cycling has played a huge role in keeping my epilepsy under control