Alan Faneca is a former LSU football player and a Super Bowl champion who was a guard in the National Football League for thirteen seasons. He was two time All-American and three time All-SEC during his LSU career.
At 14, in his freshman year of high school, Faneca’s first epileptic seizure happened on Christmas Eve.
“I tell people that I was bull headed when I was diagnosed. I was not going to let anything stop me from doing what I wanted to do, so I just kept moving forward with everything in my life,” Faneca stated. “I always say epilepsy is not who I am but something I have.”
Faneca especially enjoys talking to kids about epilepsy. He tries to make them feel like they are not alone and that things will be fine by telling embarrassing stories on himself, like how he walked to high school in his pajamas one morning.
Faneca claims, “There is nothing like hearing from a kid, or a parent, about how they opened up and are no longer letting epilepsy run their life.”
Epilepsy has certainly never run Alan Faneca’s life! In fact, Faneca has embarked on a new phase after his NFL career and recently obliterated any notion that 300-pound plus NFL players can’t re-invent themselves after retiring. It turns out they can push their bodies to a different extreme. Faneca, three years retired from the NFL — and just three months after he started training for his first 26.2 mile race — ran the New Orleans Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon in 3:56:17 on February 2.
The effort Faneca has put into spreading awareness and learning about epilepsy will, unfortunately, continue to serve him well, and not just in his own day-to-day life with the condition. His daughter, Anabelle, has Sturge-Weber Syndrome which causes her to have epilepsy as well. Faneca explains that “Now I see things from my parents view as well as being someone with epilepsy.”
Epilepsy Foundation Louisiana is especially proud to have positive role models like Alan Faneca to help us educate and advocate to ensure that all people with seizures are able to participate in all life experiences via PSA’s like the one he did for our Seize the Day Race in Baton Rouge in April. We look forward to continuing to work with Alan Faneca and his lovely wife, Julie Faneca, and their 8-year-old daughter, Annabelle, and 2-year-old son, Burton.
[widgets_on_pages]If Alan Faneca’s story inspires you, you can donate to EFL in his honor.