Diabetes and Sports
Only a few weeks after our son was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes he was back on the soccer field. That first game was a bit tough as we ended up testing him once too often and by the end of the game he was complaining about his fingers stinging.
The one thing to remember about sports and diabetes is that strenuous activity can, at times, bring your blood glucose levels down and cause hypoglycemia. As such, it’s important to test blood glucose levels before you start and if your child is low, make sure they eat something or drink a little juice.
We also try to test our son at halftime to help determine whether or not he should have a snack with the rest of his team mates. Typically he hasn’t fallen too low during a game and so he’s had to refrain from those great orange slices. But it is important to always have some quick-acting carbohydrates on hand just in case your child does go low during their activities. Juice or fruit is perfect.
The slightly dangerous part combining sports and diabetes is that you actually have to keep an eye on blood glucose levels for a couple of hours after playing. It’s not just during that game that you should look out. Because of this, we do tend test one extra time a few hours after our son’s game if needed and sometimes give our son a little low-carb snack just after his game.
Mixing sports and diabetes is not only possible, but it’s highly recommended. Staying physically fit helps in managing against complications and as with all children helps to teach them about team work and burn a little extra energy.
We have a good friend who ran track in college and tells of his roommate who also ran with him and had diabetes. He was one of the stars of the team and the only difficulty he had was that before every practice he had to eat to ensure his glucose levels didn’t drop too low. As a result, anytime there was a strenuous practice he ended up against the fence throwing up a bit. He now looks back on it and laughs…”just part of the routine”.