Type 1 Diabetes and sport

When my son was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes five years ago all I could think about was whether he’d be able to play sport when he grows up.

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As a footballer, I’m a very active person and lead a very active lifestyle.

As a parent, I have always wanted my children to grow up loving sport. I want them to be active just like me and not just sit on the sofa playing computer games all the time.

I worried that his diagnosis would hold him back. I thought he wouldn’t be able to participate but five years on and my perception of his condition has changed dramatically.

He is so active. He’s a very fit and healthy eight-year-old and with regards to him being able to play sport, I now have no worries.

 

When Jenson was first diagnosed, we used injections to administer his insulin. However, around 3 years ago we decided to change to an insulin pump. He currently uses the Medtronic 640G with CGM (constant glucose monitoring). We were struggling to control his blood sugar levels with injections and have found using the pump so much better. We have much more control now and it gives him more freedom to eat when he wants. Jenson was becoming conscious of injecting in public and it was hurting him, so it made sense to change.

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Jenson’s blood sugar levels running a bit high!

I was sceptical about the pump. I didn’t like the idea of having something attached to him constantly, and thought it would restrict him in his active lifestyle.

How wrong I was.

It hasn’t hindered him what so ever. He just gets on with life. Jenson keeps his pump in a Lycra band around his waist and you wouldn’t even know it was there.

I’m so proud of how he deals with and manages his condition every day.

Jenson loves football (I wonder why?!!) and trains three times a week with various teams and plays on a Saturday for his local side.

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When it comes to competitive football, Jenson will take his pump off as so not to cause any damage to it. During this time, we will check his blood sugar levels before, during and after. If he has low blood sugar levels at any point or his levels are coming down then we will give him either some jelly babies or a drink of Lucozade to give him a boost. Exercise lowers blood sugar levels, so it’s important we keep a close eye on him as he’s still just a young boy.

If the weather is ok then he will always be outside in the garden after school playing football with his brother. We don’t take his pump off when this happens and he plays absolutely fine and it never gets in the way.

Jenson has swimming lessons twice a week. Even though his new pump is waterproof we still take it off. It has worked well for us over the last few years so don’t want to change the routine.

He also enjoys golf and has had quite a few lessons. Jenson is left-handed and has a lovely golf swing. It’s certainly better than mine! As the Summer time approaches we will definitely be having a swing soon. Again, his diabetes and insulin pump have no bearing on him being able to play.

Obviously, when playing sport he can’t just do what he wants. His condition means more planning and care than other children his age. However, with the correct management he can play and compete in any sport. He can achieve anything he wants to and he is determined that his diabetes won’t hold him back in life. If anything, he embraces it! To see that my son is not letting Type 1 Diabetes effect his life in a negative way is such a remarkable feeling.

I’m so proud of him.

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