My name is Katherine Garver and I play Lacrosse at Lourdes University, and I have Type 1 Diabetes. Playing college sports is such an amazing experience and opportunity. It can be difficult to balance school, practice, workouts, AND manage diabetes on top of it all. It is amazing that being able to play a college sport while having diabetes is possible, due to all of the technology out today to help control it. Managing diabete and college sports definitely has its ups and downs, but it is very possible. Here are some tips I have on managing type 1 with sports
- First and foremost, COMMUNICATE with your coaches and teammates!! Your coaches knowing what diabetes is and how to manage it is one of the most important things. Your coaches need to understand why you need an extra snack during practice or what to do if something happens. Helping my teammates understand my disease, helps me play and practice more comfortably. My teammates are my best friends and have my back on and off the field!
- Wrap your pump and CGM! College sports are super aggressive and your pump and CGM have a very high chance of ripping off during a game if you do not tape them. I wrap them in pre-wrap and then medical tape.
- Check your sugar before and after practice! Going into a practice or a run with a bad blood sugar is one of the worst feelings ever. Doing this means that you will not be able to perform to your full potential and you will feel sluggish all practice or have to sit out. This is not ideal for your health OR your team!! Knowing what your blood sugar is before and after practices is the best way to make sure that you can give it your ALL next 2+ hours of being on the field!
- Have Gatorade and snacks at ALL times!! This is true for any diabetic, we always need to have snacks. But what I found out from my experience is that I always need to have snacks in my school backpack, practice bag, and car. I am either at classes, practice, or traveling for lacrosse, and it can be annoying to transfer my snacks from bag to bag. I keep lots and lots of snacks in both bags so I never have to worry! Also, I tend to get a low BG during a long practice. On days like this, I always sip on Gatorade at every water break during practice so that I never have to worry about sitting out due to a low blood sugar. Make sure you are always stocked!
I absolutely love my team, teammates, coaches, and school at Lourdes University. I love playing college sports and the atmosphere that surrounds it. If anybody ever tells you that it is not possible to play college sports and manage diabetes it is simply not true. You just have to believe in yourself, communicate with others, and stay on top of it. Diabetes does not limit me from achieving my goals!