Back in August when football practice started, I couldn't have imagined the season would literally fly by as quickly as it did. Looking back, I am happy that none of my concerns about Joey's blood sugar dropping low, or adrenaline raising it too high, came true. I think it's perfectly normal for parents to worry about these things when sending their 12-year-old onto a football field where normal injuries occur. Then add in type 1 diabetes and you have a worrisome situation.
Let's face it, I can't see Joey’s face under his helmet. Normally, sweating is a sign of Joey having a low blood sugar, but now he runs off the field all sweaty from playing football all the time. Is he low? See, I could drive myself mad!
As a family, we decided that during football season it would be best for me as mom (and for all of us) to relinquish Joey's diabetes care over to his dad, Joe. He is one of his football coaches after all and is great at dealing with adrenaline, low blood sugars and everything in between. I tend to overreact, according to Joey and Joe, and our other son, Tony.
Joey rarely is out of the game, as he plays both offense and defense. He is so strong that I can't imagine what it feels like to be tackled by him. He got the attention of the varsity football coaches – and was even mentioned by the head coach in one of his team meetings. I am telling you this so it doesn't seem like I am bragging about my son - which I kind of am - but I have been hearing about what a good player Joey is since the beginning of the season.
Playing Football with an Insulin Pump
As far as how diabetes played a role in Joey's football season, I'm glad to report that everything went very well. Joey's Omnipod insulin pump worked great during games. With all the tackling, running, sweating, getting rained on and muddy, it's terrific he has an insulin pump that is able to stay on his body. Having the ability to adjust Joey's basal insulin with the Omnipod is also terrific. If his blood sugars run on the lower end of the spectrum, we adjust his basal rate to 50%, which means he only gets 50% of what he normally gets over that same time period.*
Joey's blood sugar numbers have been great during games. He really takes care to eat the right foods two hours before each game and to keep glucose on hand during the game to keep his numbers level. He realized the correlation between eating the right types of food before practice or a game and his performance. I’m really proud of him, because a lot of high school athletes haven't made that connection yet, and if they have, they don't apply it. It takes a lot of discipline to play sports with type 1 diabetes, something that professional football player Jake Byrne, of the Houston Texans, discussed with Joey. There are only a few professional football players who have type 1 diabetes. If Joey wants to up that number one day, he knows he has to start applying good behaviors now.
Team Spirit for the Diabetes Community
|Car wash for American Diabetes Association Walk to Stop Diabetes.|
Joey's Jr. Crusader 7th grade football team went undefeated this year. Actually this is our third straight year undefeated. We have been told by referees who’ve been refereeing games for more than 25 years that this team is the best they have ever seen. Wow, that is quite the compliment.
Our team is also full of spirit, they are all good students and they all love to give back to their community. In September, the team pitched in to hold a car wash fundraiser for Step Out Walk to Stop Diabetes. They raised more than $400 for Joey's walk efforts and they had a great time.
Our last regular game was on the morning of October 19th. As the 2013 Youth Ambassador for the American Diabetes Association, Joey had the responsibility of Kicking off the Step Out: Walk to Stop Diabetes event that morning. He gave his speech, walked off the stage and literally changed into his football uniform in the parking lot. He is dedicated to the ADA, and to football, and we were very lucky that he could appear at both that morning. Diabetes certainly hasn't held him back from doing what he loves, nothing ever will.
*Information posted on Podder Talk is not intended to be taken as medical advice. Always consult with your healthcare provider for questions and guidance on managing any health-related issues.