The Struggle of a Diabetic Athlete


Joakim Noah getting a rebound then passing it out!

Seth Walloch, Sports Editor

Many people suffer from diabetes across the U.S. today. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 29.1 million people in the U.S. alone have diabetes. That means around 9.3% of the American population has either Type one or Type two diabetes. In the U.S. 95% of people with diabetes have Type two which is mainly caused by being overweight or becoming obese. Another way is lack of physical activity. But what about those who are active and healthy? Most athletes that have diabetes have type one which, most of the time, you are born with.

The main differences between Type one and Type two diabetes are where in Type one diabetes, the pancreas produces little to no insulin so they have to get it from an outside source. Whereas in the Type two, it affects the way the body processes blood sugar (glucose). Now most athletes with diabetes have Type one because they are normally in shape and get enough exercise.

Athletes are impacted by diabetes all the time when playing sports.

“Sometimes I will have to sit out because I feel low or when I am feeling high, I will not perform as well as I would perform at the ‘Perfect Level,’” said Brad Theel, a PHS athlete with Type one Diabetes.

Theel is not the only one who suffers from situations like this.

“I’ve have to step out of games and practices tons of times because of my blood sugar levels being too high or too low,”  said James Klumker, a PHS athlete with Type one Diabetes.

There are also professional athletes with diabetes who do not let the disease hold them back. They too have to always make sure they are at their right blood sugar levels. One of these phenomenal athletes is Adam Morrison, the 3rd overall pick in the 2006 NBA draft.

“The biggest thing about Diabetes is that you are normal like everybody else if you take control of it and that’s how I feel about Diabetes,” said Morrison in an interview about how he feels Diabetes impact athletes.

Diabetes can hold athletes back overall though. Diabetes can cause the athletes with it to feel negative while they normally would not be.

“It feels like I am always out of a drill or something else that gets me to become a better basketball player,” says Theel. “Having Diabetes while being an athlete takes a toll. You have to be way more cautious about what you are putting into your body and how you feel.”
Overall, the majority of athletes that have any type of Diabetes have Type one Diabetes. This definitely holds them back from playing their full potential all the times but they push through it to do great things. They have to persevere and fight to do work in the sport that they love to play.