Playing paintball with Autism and Epilepsy - Becky Ward

When you see paintballers on the TV and on social media it can look scary at first especially from a autistic point of view. I have both autism and epilepsy which can be difficult sometimes and it can be hard to be accepted in normal society.

When I first starting playing I struggled with the social side of it. I started going every other Saturday at my local paintball site, to begin with I was nervous about what to expect as I’d never played paintball before and if I was going to be accepted for who I was. I was also unsure about letting people know because of the stigma and not much awareness about my conditions, but after a while and training people came to understand.

Since telling people they have been able to help me massively. Helping people understand was the first step into feeling accepted for who I was, after explaining and educating about this condition I have found that people are starting to realise that I do see the world differently and that I may even have ideas that they may not have through of.

Sometimes I may need extra help to understand what my goal is or I may just need a couple of minutes because it’s all got to much, but you communicate in which ever way you can and there is always someone who can help.

Not only do I have autism but I also have epilepsy. I though this was going to be a major obstacle due to me not being able to do so many things because of this condition but after again educating and knowledge building, the paintball community came to understand what my triggers were and anytime I was out on the field the staff/marshalls made sure things were in place.

Sometimes seizures can be unpredictable and come without warning, in that case I found if you tell someone before/when you arrive and explain what to do if you have a seizure and any medication you are on then they are very understanding.

I personally found that the paintball community as a whole always wants to learn about my conditions and find it interesting that even through we have this condition we can still play this sport and have a great time.

We may see the world differently to everyone else or have a neurological condition but we can still play a sport that is played at all levels. Having conditions like autism or epilepsy doesn’t mean we can’t enjoy things, all it means is that from time to time we may need a little extra help or time.

In paintball there is always a position/role for everyone of all abilities and nothing should stop you.

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