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Counterattack

A seizure cost her a season, but Amanda Filippone is quickly making up for lost time

The ball kissed the back of the net, and Amanda Filippone – an athlete with epilepsy who watched and agonized as her team skidded to a 1-11-1 record after a seizure last season forced her to the sidelines – was once again her old self: Amanda Filippone, attacking midfielder, team captain, goal scorer. 

Filippone, who attends New Jersey City University, missed all but four games last season; she opted for a medical redshirt after suffering a severe grand mal seizure before a September match. She left the field in an ambulance that day. 

One year later, she returned to the pitch – on her feet. On Aug. 30, only a minute into her first game back, Filippone fielded a pass eight yards from goal and rifled a shot past the keeper for John Jay College. 

Fifty-four minutes later, she blasted a free-kick that was inadvertently tapped into the net by a pair of John Jay defenders. Seconds after that, her penalty kick goal sealed the Gothic Knights’ eventual 3-0 victory, instantaneously putting a year of hospital stays, doctor visits and a frightening ambulance ride behind her. 

“The first game of the season changed me,” she said. 

Away from the field, Filippone, a redshirt junior, is working toward a degree in psychology because, she said, she has come to relish counseling others who have epilepsy. 

As for her future in soccer? She said she understands that, at any moment, a doctor could tell her there are no more free kicks to take, that no more nets will billow at her command. So forgive her when she offers a cliché – it’s sincere. 

“I play every game like it’s my last.”   

Apparently, even the first. 

About Champion

Champion magazine goes behind the headlines and beyond the scoreboards to celebrate the unique connection between Americans and college sports. Champion is published by the NCAA.

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