Bears' Justin Fields Says His Epilepsy Diagnosis Has 'Zero Effect on Football'

Tyler Conway@jtylerconwayFeatured ColumnistApril 30, 2021

FILE - In this Friday, Jan. 1, 2021, file photo, Ohio State quarterback Justin Fields passes against Clemson during the second half of the Sugar Bowl NCAA college football game in New Orleans. Fields is foregoing his senior season to enter the NFL draft, in an announcement posted on social media, Monday, Jan. 18, 2021. Fields, expected to be a first-round draft choice, went 20-2 as a two-year starter for the Buckeyes. (AP Photo/John Bazemore, File)
John Bazemore/Associated Press

New Chicago Bears quarterback Justin Fields said Friday his epilepsy diagnosis has had "zero effect on football."

Fields, who was diagnosed with epilepsy in the ninth grade, takes medication to manage the neurological condition.

Tom Pelissero and Ian Rapoport of NFL Network reported Fields does not have seizures while he's taking medication. Other members of his family have grown out of the condition, and doctors are confident he will as well.

"Justin's health, toughness and work ethic have never been an issue and I am incredibly proud of his professionalism and the character he displays on and off the field," Ohio State coach Ryan Day said on Twitter after that report. "The fact that he never missed a game at Ohio State speaks volumes about how he takes care of himself."

The Bears traded the No. 20 pick and a fifth-rounder (No. 164), along with first- and fourth-round picks in 2022, to move up to No. 11 and select Fields after he fell out of the top 10. He is expected to open the season as the backup behind Andy Dalton, who the Bears signed to a one-year contract in March.

However, the writing is on the wall for Dalton's tenure as QB1. He has been a below-average NFL starting quarterback in recent seasons, and Fields has face-of-the-franchise talent.

"I expect to be a franchise quarterback and one day, hopefully, be a top-five quarterback in this league," Fields said.