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Boyle County football devotes season to Epilepsy Foundation of Kentuckiana

At Boyle County High School, the football team’s seniors come together each season to rally behind a particular cause of their choosing. This year, the beneficiary is the Epilepsy Foundation of Kentuckiana, chosen in honor of Boyle County High School’s own Jacob Heist. He’s a senior on the team himself. Kentucky columnist Larry Vaught profiled Heist and the Boyle County football team for Vaught’s Views, available here.

Heist was diagnosed with epilepsy after his first seizure in the sixth grade. Thankfully, he’s been seizure-free for three years and off of his medicine for one. However, it hasn’t been easy. His experience with the disease includes some extreme examples – such as his first seizure, which happened while his family was traveling on the interstate for spring break – as well as “simple complex seizures” which are less severe, including one time when he found himself sitting in his school’s cafeteria with no food and no memory of how he got there.

“We had a lot of those plus more severe ones as well,” his mother, Jennifer told Vaught. “Any time he had a seizure his brain would shut down and he would sleep hard for hours and could not function. We told him he was so intelligent and so smart that seizures were his way of rebooting. What else could we tell him?”

Heist was able to join a football team in seventh grade, but he wasn’t yet cleared to participate in practices or games. Still, he earned a uniform; he kept showing up at practice. Now that he’s playing for the Rebels, it still makes his mom nervous.

“Every time they put him on that field I feel like I am going to throw up,” Jennifer said. “If he takes a shower and drops the shampoo and doesn’t answer when we yell for him we are beating on the door to make sure he’s okay. You just can’t help it.”

Recently, his story has even garnered attention from the one, the only, Dicky V.

This year, the team had custom t-shirts made to help raise money for the cause. They cost $10, and $5 per shirt will go directly toward the Epilepsy Foundation of Kentuckiana. If their goal was to spread awareness and connect a community, it’s working. One family in Kansas, whose son cannot play football because of his epilepsy, has already ordered a shirt.

Heist has already been able to connect with them thanks to social media.

To read the full story, check out Vaught’s Views by clicking here.

If you would like to order a shirt to support the team and the foundation, contact Jennifer Heist at [email protected] or call her at (606)899-7736. Shirts can be mailed or a pickup place can be arranged.

Article written by Maggie Davis

I love sports, podcasts, long walks on the beach and Twitter (@MaggieDavisKSR)