Thoughts On New York Jets Wide Receiver Jalen Saunders’ Health Scare


Jan 2, 2014; New Orleans, LA, USA; Oklahoma Sooners wide receiver Jalen Saunders (8) is congratulated by Oklahoma Sooners wide receiver Lacoltan Bester (11) after his touchdown in the first quarter against the Alabama Crimson Tide at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome. Mandatory Credit: Crystal LoGiudice-USA TODAY Sports

I have seizure disorder. I’ve had seven seizures in my life, including one last year. None of those seizures have happened while I have been on medicine. When I first heard that Jalen Saunders had a “medical event” in his car ,a seizure was the 1st thing that came to my mind. After reading what he had to say while speaking to the media today I am further convinced that is what happened to him.

According to the Epilepsy Foundation at, a seizure is a sudden surge of electric activity in the brain which affects how a person feels or acts for a short period of time. There are six types of seizures according to WebMd; Grand Mal which has a complete loss of consciousness and convulsions, Absence in which a person interrupts an actively and stares blankly for a short period, Myclonic seizures have sporadic jerking motions that feel like electric shocks, Clonic ones involve repetitive, rhythmic jerking, Tonic seizures involve a stiffening of the muscles and an Atonic seizure consists of a loss of muscle mass usually resulting in a fall.

In Kimberley Martin’s Newsday story on the issue, Saunders says that he never lost consciousness but couldn’t recall if the car was in motion when his “medical event” occurred. He said “Something was unusual. It wasn’t a part of me, I guess you could say.” Saunders couldn’t really say what was wrong, not because he was trying to be evasive, but because he really didn’t know. I know that after my seizures I had and continue to have no recollection of what happened and what led to it. Saunders said that he is waiting to hear back from the doctors and neurologists regarding his testing. For me, the tests were an EEG (Electroencephalogram) which has many tiny electrodes attached to the scalp and skin to measure brain waves and look for abnormalities and a CT Scan where doctors look for any brain abnormalities. That and overnight observation are the ways my seizure disorder was diagnosed.

I don’t know for sure whether it was a seizure and I am not a doctor but I am someone who knows what the signs look like. I am on medicine and am not limited in any way in my life because of seizures. I take my medicine and I know I will make it through the day seizure-free. How this will potentially affect a football player I don’t know but I do know that it will take time for him to get back on the field because everyone involved needs to be cautious. Jalen Saunders is very lucky to be alive today, having a “medical event” while driving magnifies the episode and the potential for danger exponentially. He and the team’s doctors need to make sure that his personal health is taken care of first so he can be reasonably certain that he won’t have another episode like this before resuming his football career. Once he gets all of that squared away he can go back to the business of helping the Jets win games, until then we need to be patient with the process.