Ohio State quarterback Justin Fields speaks about epilepsy diagnosis for the first time

Joey Kaufman
Buckeye Xtra
Justin Fields was selected by the Chicago Bears with the 11th pick in Thursday's first round.

Former Ohio State quarterback Justin Fields said Friday that he was first diagnosed with epilepsy, a neurological disorder that can cause seizures, in the ninth grade, but that it has not limited his career.

“It has had zero effect on football,” he said.

Fields pointed out he has not missed a game or practice since treating the medical condition and follows a strict medicine schedule to remain healthy.

“I mean, it’s pretty simple for me to manage it,” he said. “I just have to take three to four pills a night, every night. It's nothing crazy. It's a thing that's been there for the past seven or eight years, so I'm used to it, and I'm just going to continue to deal with it and continue to play the game that I love.”

Coach Ryan Day also attested to Fields’ successful management of the condition during his two seasons at Ohio State.

More:Experts see former Ohio State QB Justin Fields' epilepsy diagnosis as manageable in NFL

“We were aware of it, but Justin was very professional and mature about it,” Day said. “He took his medicine, and we never had an issue.”

Fields said his diagnosis first came after he suffered a seizure while at his high school in Kennesaw, Georgia.

“It was crazy,” Fields said, “because I just woke up in an ambulance.”

The diagnosis became public knowledge last week when it was reported by the NFL Network that he informed teams during pre-draft interviews that he was managing epilepsy.

Prior to Friday’s Zoom call with reporters in Chicago, Fields had not spoken publicly about his treatment.

Fields was taken by the Bears with the No. 11 overall pick in the NFL draft on Thursdaynight after the team traded up nine spots to select him, dealing a pair of first-round picks to the New York Giants for the selection.

When asked if he felt comfortable with the sensitive medical information being leaked in a media report, Fields shrugged it off and confessed he wasn’t worried about it.

“It is what it is,” Fields said. “It's a part of me. I'm not going to try to hide it. It's who I am, so there's really no reason trying to hide it. I'm just going to, continue to manage this and continue to play football like I've always played football. It's really nothing different for me.”

jkaufman@dispatch.com

@joeyrkaufman