The Success of Jeremy Jeffress and the Effect it has on those with Epilepsy

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Sep 10, 2015; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; Milwaukee Brewers relief pitcher Jeremy Jeffress (21) pitches against the Pittsburgh Pirates during the seventh inning at PNC Park. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports
Sep 10, 2015; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; Milwaukee Brewers relief pitcher Jeremy Jeffress (21) pitches against the Pittsburgh Pirates during the seventh inning at PNC Park. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports /
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Jeremy Jeffress could set a Milwaukee Brewers saves record tonight and unknowingly inspire those with epilepsy like myself all at once.

When Jeremy Jeffress was suspended for his second time in late June 2009 for failing a drug test after his usage of marijuana, Milwaukee Brewers fans might have thought it was a typical young player who needs to simply grow up. At the time Jeffress was with Class A Brevard County and being a first round draft pick, the Milwaukee Brewers may have wondered if they wasted a draft pick.

After being traded to the Kansas City Royals along with Lorenzo Cain, Alcides Escobar, and Jake Odorizzi, Jeffress was never quite sure if he’d be able to come back to the Milwaukee Brewers and show them they made a mistake. But, after being designated for assignment by the Toronto Blue Jays in April, the Milwaukee Brewers grabbed him back to give him another chance in 2014.

Many reports came across about Jeffress’ possible use of marijuana due to epilepsy. During his time with the Blue Jays organization in 2013, he was diagnosed with the disease and was relieved to have it under control.

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In September 2014, JSOnline reported medications he tried were making him drowsy that could affect him on the field, but after a certain period of time he found the right one that would make sure he had enough energy to play. The article also mentioned Jeffress possibly developing epilepsy when he was 15 years old after a bike accident.

As Jeffress came to the Milwaukee Brewers, he was an instant success in his first full season in 2015 as he pitched 68 innings, 2.65 ERA, and 67 Ks. A positive stat line for a season that had very few.

With Will Smith going down with a torn LCL before this season started, it was an easy decision for the Milwaukee Brewers on who to choose to become their closer for the 2016 season and Jeffress has stepped up to the plate. With 4.2 IP, he hasn’t given up a run and is 4/4 in saves.

And coming into tonight’s game against the Pirates, Jeffress can put his name in Milwaukee Brewers history books as FoxSportsWisconsin.com reports, “No Milwaukee reliever has had a save in each of the Brewers’ first five wins of the season.”

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While this story is easy for any person to cheer for, for someone like myself it’s even better. After I graduated college in 2009, I looked forward to a hopeful career like all college graduates do and although, I had drowsiness, sweating, heart-pounding that led for many visits to the doctor, I was told I was healthy.

During my first week at a new job, I was feeling the same symptoms and laid down when I got home. Suddenly, I woke up in the hospital and was told I had a grand mal seizure. After years on different medication, surgery, and so on, I’ve been stable and truly grateful to have been healthy for years.

Although, we look up to professional players with great numbers, I look up to those who’ve had tougher battles to overcome and Jeffress is certainly one of them. Although, it’s early in the season, Jeffress’ story is one that will be hard to outdo and I encourage all fans to cheer him on or care for those with epilepsy not as fortunate as Jeffress or myself.

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