Cedars-Sinai Blog

Overcoming Epilepsy and Riding Again

Scott McCosh holding his medals

Scott McCosh's seizures began at the pinnacle of his career in competitive mountain biking.

He trained in the Ojai mountains and competed nationwide, bringing in lucrative commercial sponsorships. His career stopped when he could no longer manage the violent epileptic seizures that struck while he was sleeping and left him feeling like he'd been hit by a truck.

His seizures worsened over the years, taking a toll on both of his careers—mountain biking and building homes—along with his body, his relationships, and his mind. He saw specialists in multiple states but, unlike many with epilepsy, was unable to control his condition with medications. On his worst days he was having as many as eight seizures a day.

He felt his disease was robbing him of everything.

"I'd even lost hope," he says.

That was before he met Dr. Jeffrey Chung, director of the Cedars-Sinai Epilepsy Program, and Dr. Adam Mamelak, director of the Functional Neurosurgery Program.

Scott McCosh biking

Back on his bike, McCosh is logging 80 miles on some rides as he gets back to peak condition.

Epilepsy affects about 3 million people in the US, and for some, like Scott, surgery is a potential solution.

His neurologists observed him in the monitoring unit, hooking his brain up to electrodes and waiting for a seizure to happen. They were then able to pinpoint its place of origin in his brain.

The seizures were coming from Scott's temporal lobe. That part of the brain is linked to speech, memory, and emotional responses.

"It was incredible to see my brainwaves skyrocket on the screen," he says. "We were all happy that they had found the spot."

Removing that spot, a small section of the brain that was the focal point for the seizures, alleviated the problem.


Scott quantifies his experience in lots of ways. He measures it in the years he spent looking for answers, and in a 15-page report from his medical records detailing every test and treatment he went through to get to the right solution.


It's been more than a year and a half since Scott's surgery. He has returned to racing, and he sees his neurology team every 6 months to monitor his comprehension and memory.

Scott quantifies his experience in lots of ways. He measures it in the years he spent looking for answers, and in a 15-page report from his medical records detailing every test and treatment he went through to get to the right solution.

Now, he also measures his recovery in the miles he's able to bike again, the races he's entering, and the happiness he's regained.

"It was amazing what they did," he says. "When I see Dr. Chung, I don't shake his hand. I give him a hug. Not many people have been able to leave a disability behind. He gave me my life back."


"Patients who are suffering from any chronic condition should know we're all working with various methods and many teams to get them back to good health. Don't ever lose hope."


Dr. Chung says it was Scott who reclaimed his life.

"I look at my team's job as lowering the steps so the patients can climb over them," Dr. Chung says. "But Scott is the one who actually has the drive to live his life."

The Epilepsy Program frequently sees patients with hard-to-treat cases. Dr. Chung says he hopes they can look to patients like Scott and find hope again.

"Patients who are suffering from any chronic condition should know we're all working with various methods and many teams to get them back to good health," he says. "Don't ever lose hope."

Scott is back on his bike, logging 80 miles on some rides as he gets back to peak condition.

"I'm healthy and getting as strong as I can be," he says. "I'm like a 20-year-old again."

Scott McCosh biking

Scott McCosh rides his mountain bike at Arroyo Verde Park in Ventura, California.