Varsity basketball to host epilepsy awareness game

Team will wear purple for Dec. 21 event


Cathedran file photo

Senior James Franklin, left, and the rest of the Irish varsity will host an epilepsy awareness game on Dec. 21 in the Welch Activity Center.

Lila Welch, Reporter

As James Franklin lined up for his second free throw, more than one student in the Center Grove crowd screamed, “Have another seizure!”

That event went viral but has resulted in an increased awareness about epilepsy.

Senior James Franklin and basketball player who has battled epilepsy for almost four years of his life and until last year Franklin had suffered from seizures since he was a born. On Aug. 3, 2017, Franklin experienced his first brain surgery. This surgery would eliminate Franklin’s seizures and his epilepsy. Franklin missed about three weeks of school and basketball, and according to him coming back to the sport was “terrible.” Franklin had no strength on the left side of his body, so he had to regain it before returning to the court.

Last year, Franklin played for the varsity basketball team, but it took a lot of work to get back to his original skill set.

On Nov. 30 the Irish played Center Grove. Both teams were ranked, and the level of tension was high. As the game started, the student fans of home team, Center Grove, began to mock the players on the Irish team. At first they taunted senior Armaan Franklin by showing a picture of his mother on one of the Center Grove’s fan’s chests.

The more intense mocking happened while opposing players shot free throws. Franklin was fouled and stepped up to the line to shoot, when a Center Grove student dropped to the floor and started flopping around as if he were having a seizure. Franklin said he was shocked, but proceeded to make both of his free throws.

That night after the game, Franklin attempted to speak to the student who had made fun of him. Franklin said, “He never apologized.”

A reporter covering the game had taken a video of the Center Grove student pretending to have a seizure and Franklin posted it on his Twitter with a caption reading, “He thought it was (cool) to act as me having a seizure.” Since Franklin posted the video it has received more than 4,000 likes and he has gotten attention from people all over the country, including at least one college coach.

Head Coach Mr. Jason Delaney said he reacted to the video with two words: “Outrage and sadness.” Delaney has known Franklin for over three years now, and seeing something like this happen to one of his players was difficult, he said.

Though this video and game brought some controversy to Franklin’s life, it also did something good.

Franklin has received praise from all over the country because of his battle and recovery from epilepsy. An opposing team, Warren Central, even raised $3,000 for epilepsy awareness in honor of Franklin.

On Dec. 21, the school will host an epilepsy awareness game in honor of Franklin and his battle. Franklin and the Irish will play West Lafayette in the Welch Activity Center, with the junior varsity tipping off at 6 and the varsity following at 7:30 p.m.

As Franklin carries on and finishes his high school basketball career he offered this advice: “Never let people get you down and trust in God.”