NH Gymnast Overcomes Epilepsy To Compete In World Championships

(WBZ-AM) -- Competing with Team USA Olympics in the World Championships is a big deal--but one New Hampshire native had to overcome more than almost anyone else to get there.

Gymnast Melissa Doucette is one of the very few athletes at her level who have a seizure condition. She was diagnosed with epilepsy as a child, and suffered grand mal seizures.

She told WBZ NewsRadio 1030's Karyn Regal that her childhood doctor suggested she quit her sport--but she didn't.

"The doctor started leaning toward, 'You should probably quit,'" she said. "There was a time when it was so bad that they said that I should wear a helmet just in case I had a seizure. There was a really hard time when I was young. But if you want something bad enough, you'll find any way to accomplish a goal."

Of course, she urges safety first.

Doucette competes in power tumbling, where an athlete does eight flips in a row in 120 feet. She does not wear a helmet.

"There are going to be so many people in your life that tell you you can't do something if it's not the normal way of doing things," Doucette said. "But if you believe that you can do it, then don't let those people stand in your way."

The World Championships are as far as she can go, as power tumbling is not recognized as an Olympic sport.

Doucette said she would like to be a role model for others overcoming this type of adversity.

WBZ NewsRadio 1030's Karyn Regal reports

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