Numbers on the scoreboard not the most important to diabetic athletes

Thousands of Clark County kids went back to school yesterday, which means the fall sports seasons really get going. Summer and pre-season practices come to an end and games/matches/meets have just started or will start soon, and tales of inspirational athletes will come to the forefront.

The last two football seasons my son played alongside of one of a very special group of inspirational athletes. Three quarters of the way through last season my son moved to the offensive line due to injuries. Despite his small frame he did very well “in the trenches”. He was the left guard and quickly befriended a kid who wasn’t a whole lot bigger than he was but lined up right alongside of him as the center. However his new lineman buddy soon went on the injured list as well. He missed a week, then two, then three but came back just in time to help the team win the CCYF championship for their grade level. It was only after that he learned why he missed so much time – he had type 1 diabetes.

A quick description – Type 1 diabetics produce little or no insulin because of their pancreas. Type 2 (becoming more increasingly common) diabetics can produce plenty of insulin but their bodies are resistant. Insulin allows sugar to enter the body’s cells to produce energy. This means diabetics have to keep a very close eye on their sugar counts. If too low some type of glucose pills or things high in sugar such as pixie sticks or cake frosting are taken and if too high water is needed, or being taken out of the game or activity altogether.

For athletes, what you eat/drink before and after activity is important but for diabetics it’s absolutely crucial. Plenty of water and the proper foods are a must not only before but after the activity too, and sugar levels are checked during activities as well. Simply put – sugar levels and the management of them are the most important thing in the lives of those with diabetes.

The bottom line is while all athletes are playing some type of game, diabetic athletes are in an additional competition…one where the stakes are a lot higher than a win or a loss. And where I sit from the cheap seats that competition is the most vital of them all, and diabetic athletes, regardless of what the scoreboard says, are winners and an inspiration to each and every one of us. Because they wage a battle 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year.

Another battle being waged daily is the quest to find a cure for type 1 diabetes. On September 29, a benefit walk to help raise funds and awareness for juvenile diabetes is being held by the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation at Oaks Park in Portland. For more information visit


Did pretty well last week going 3-1 with my only loss being Oregon State’s shocking defeat at the hands of Eastern Washington (hey, I think I alluded to this in my last blog when I said the Beavers lose one every year that’s sort of a head-scratcher). One of the Northwest schools (Washington) has a bye this week so there will be three games for me to pick from. And here we go (home teams in CAPS)…

Oregon 48, VIRGINIA 17

OREGON STATE 27, Hawaii 10

And my upset special….

Washington State 27, USC 21

Last week: 3-1    Overall: 3-1


Paul Williams

I am a sports nut who has tried to make the transition from athlete to athletic....err....supporter of my two children and their athletic endeavours. I am also a former sports reporter for The Arlington Times, Marysville Globe, The Skagit Argus and The Coeur d'Alene Press. Follow me on Facebook or on Twitter (@PDub4170).

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