Four Day Grit, Football and Diabetes Part 2 by Brandon Green

So I shared my first three rules about 4 Day Grit, Football and Diabetes. I shared my tips about playing professional football as a T1D athlete.  To recall, I emphasized Disclipline, CGM/BG Monitoring and my “45 minute – Let it Ride” Rule.  You can find Part 1 of this blog here!  I wouldn’t leave you hanging, so here is the rest of my game plan.

4 Day Grit, Football and Diabetes (Part 2)

Number 4.
Protein, Protein, Protein

If you plan on being, or you already are an athlete, you need to know how protein affects and steadies your blood sugar for pro-longed periods of time.  Show me a football player who has an apple, I’ll show you an athlete with a low blood sugar 35 minutes later.

Change that to an apple with peanut butter and you are going strong. Every athlete, diabetic and day is different.  But protein will always help level out those peaks and valleys.

Prior to the NFL, Brandon played
for Rice University. 

(During his NFL Career, Brandon was with 
the Jacksonville Jaguars, St. Louis Rams 
and the Seattle Seahawks.)

Number 5.  Powder or Concentrate

I always preferred powdered Gatorade.  This was an everyday thing for me during 2-days.  And here’s why; going through an intense workout with a sloshing stomach is miserable.  So anything you can make more concentrated while limiting the amount of liquid was a good idea.

During practice, you can’t always eat something.  But I always had a special water bottle that had concentrated Gatorade made from powder.  The exact carb counts are hard, but not having to drink 4 Gatorade bottles on a tough “low” day was worth it to me.

And yes, you run the risk of an upset stomach sometimes, but that sloshing stomach thing…I would rather have the chance of an upset stomach.

Number 6.  Bump your Water/Gatorade Level up till you are comfortable

I used to use the 90 – 130 – 180 Water to Gatorade plan.

Below 90, I was drinking Gatorade any chance I could until I was above 90 using my concentrated special drink. 90-130 is ideal and this is where I would alternate between water and Gatorade with my small breaks, a 2 Gatorades to 1 Water mix. At 130-180, the ratio would switch and I had 2 Waters to 1 Gatorade.  Over 180, I did just water until I dipped below that number.

You can talk to your doctor or make up your own plan. But at the end of my professional football career, that was my unofficial chart.

Keep in mind, only when I was below 90, did I consume whole servings of Gatorade.  All other BGs, I just take sips – changing the quantities based on the reading and trajectory.

Here is a summary of my Water to Gatorade ratio

Below 90: Drink Gatorade at any chance possible (Use Concentrated Mix)
90-130:  Alternate Water and Gatorade –  2 Gatorades to 1 water Ratio (Take sips)
130-180:  Alternate Water and Gatorade – 2 Waters to 1 Gatorades Ratio (Take Sips)
Over 180:  Water only

Final Rule:
Number 7.  Grit

Be tough, and be smart.  Don’t take unnecessary chances.  And if you get low, back out for a bit.  On the professional level, getting low meant missing reps.  Missed reps meant they would eventually fire me and get someone who could “play” in there.

It is amazing how much Grit you can find within you to fulfill a dream.  I know the high price you can pay if Diabetes isn’t taken seriously.  Just as the storm when you first got diabetes feels never ending and unbeatable, those first 4 days feel like they go on for a month.

But follow these rules and before you know it, your sugars may level off like mine did.  Your soreness will wear off and you will have a better day to enjoy your time as an athlete.  But for those first 4 days, bring your GRIT!

I pray these tips help someone else out there.  Thanks for letting me share some insight into my experiences at multiple levels of football, from Junior High through the professional ranks.  You can build on it.

Learn what works for you and create your own success story!
Achieve all you can! God Bless and Get Active!

Written by Brandon Green

March 1, 2017

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Athletic Practices Guide for Diabetics

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Coaches Playbook for Diabetics

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