Jason Goulden was an active student at Cedar Falls High School.
"Football, basketball, track and field and baseball," said Jason Goulden.
During his senior year in 2007, Jason was recruited to play football at Central College in Pella. His specialty was kicking. Throughout high school, Jason was an average teenager.
Then one day his life changed while he was at his summer job doing maintenance at an apartment complex.
"I was weed whacking around the complex and all of a sudden, it just happened," said Goulden.
He suffered a seizure. Goulden actually spent more than a week in the hospital, which he doesn't remember. After numerous tests, Goulden was eventually diagnosed with epilepsy.
It was a shock to his whole family. There were no previous signs or symptoms and no family history. But after the diagnosis, he decided to still go to Central College and pay football. He had a seizure at least once a day.
After two years, he moved home to Cedar Falls. He's now a student at UNI. Each semester he explains his medical condition to teachers, and he always sits next to the door in case he feels a seizure starting.
"It feels like I get a pit in my stomach. I do feel it and usually it's enough time for me to walk to the hall, sit down and relax," said Goulden.
The now 23-year-old still has seizures almost everyday. He has a Vagus Nerve Stimulator or VNS implant in his chest, which is supposed to help control his seizures if he swipes this magnet across it. He also started a ketogenic diet in May. It's a low carb, high fat diet.
Jason Goulden is the first adult through the University of Iowa Hospitals to try the diet long-term in an effort to curb epileptic seizures.
"I don't know how long that'll take or what it will take, but that's what it's like right now, and I just have to deal with it," said Goulden.
Jason went from being a healthy teen, active in sports to one who now has to wear medical IDs, but he doesn't let epilepsy define him.
"I try to help people be positive and know there are lots of people out there to talk to," said Goulden.
Jason isn't going through his epilepsy diagnosis alone. He thanks his family for helping him and supporting him through this transitional phase in his life, which he's confident will only get better with time.
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