Basics of Managing Diabetes and Sports

Basics of Managing Diabetes and Sports

Back to basics managing sports with Type 1 Diabetes

“When it comes to sports & diabetes,
there are basic principles that
must be 
followed for success.”

Back to the Basics
Managing Diabetes and Sports

Basic fundamentals don’t change

In the world of sports, there are basic principles that must (typically) be followed for success.

The games move so fast. They seem so big and complex. But sometimes they are won by just the right step, proper hand placement, or even  by just keeping your eyes and vision in the proper area.

There is room for creativity and there are a variety of approaches. But  the basic fundamentals don’t change.

Life before CGMs

I was speaking with someone my age recently about our experience with Type 1 Diabetes.

We were discussing how management of diabetes has changed over the years.

Specifically, we discussed how we did not always have the use of new technology that people start with today – like Continuous Glucose Monitors.

Type 1 Diabetes and Sports

The basics of sports & diabetes management got me into the NFL!

An advocate for CGMs

I have shared in previous blogs why I am a strong believer in CGMs for athletes. They are very useful especially if an athlete has the ability and financial means to use one.

But whether you have a CGM or not, you have to remember that there a basic principles to success with Type 1 Diabetes. Especially as an athlete.

And you must always have the ability to manage your diabetes with the basics… otherwise known as checking your own blood sugar!

Checking your BG with a meter

Being able to check your blood glucose with a meter is an extremely important tool for T1D athletes. A “back to the basics” meter should be part of your field supply kit. Though I am a huge fan of CGMs, you should always be prepared with a backup plan.

Based on my experience, it is highly likely something is going to happen at some point – an infusion site goes out or is ripped out just before that important tryout, or even in the middle of a critical game! It happens.

Feeling confident in managing your diabetes without your CGM will benefit you as an athlete. It will also improve your ability to compete no matter what is thrown at you on the athletic field. That’s the challenge with sports in general!

Always have an alternate plan

For those that typically use a CGM, having a simple alternate plan means there is no panic when the CGM isn’t available.

Instead you just move on to plan B.  With a plan B, your safety and ability to perform at your highest level isn’t hindered.

I did not always have a CGM 

I also want to remind those without a CGM that I did not have a CGM when I was diagnosed at age 10. Still, I was not going to let diabetes slow me down from the many sports I played!

I used the basics because honestly I didn’t have any other option when I was first diagnosed. It is great that there are so many tools available to us now! And I highly recommend using them if available to you.

Have a Plan B

But learn to be comfortable with managing the basics of diabetes.

Have a “Plan B”, so that you are ready no matter what your sport throws at you. That’s just one of the “basic” tips that helped me get into the NFL.

Good luck out there!  As an athlete and diabetic, it ends up that my high school coach was right… “when you take care of the little things, big things usually happen.”

For me, taking care of the little things means concentrating on the basics!

Written by Brandon Green
published on 7/24/2017 by Type 1 To Go

Brandon Green was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes at the age of 10. He has played a multitude of sports throughout High School. He has a degree in Kinesiology from Rice University where he played football throughout college. Brandon played in the NFL with the Jacksonville Jaguars, St. Louis Rams and ended his career with the Seattle Seahawks. In addition to playing sports at all levels, Brandon has coached Middle School and High School sports. For athletics and diabetes, he brings a complete perspective from player to coach.

An avid spokesman for Type 1 Diabetes, Brandon Green is a motivational speaker encouraging children and families living with diabetes. In addition to his professional career with Sundance Memory Care, he blogs and provides support for www.Type1ToGo.com. For more information on Brandon Green, please visit his page here.

For updates on blogs,
please LIKE our Facebook page
or Follow us on Twitter!

This information provided for general use only.
It is not intended as medical and/or legal advice.
Always consult your doctor for medical advice.
All Rights Reserved. 

 Related Blogs to this Post

Related Tools to this Topic

Athletic Practices Guide for Diabetics by Brandon Green

Coaches Playbook for Diabetics by Brandon Green 

Extracurricular Activities Checklist  (For Diabetic Students in Public School) 

Copyright © 2017 Type 1 To Go Resolutions. All Rights Reserved.
Disclosure & Disclaimer Page

T1D Extracurricular Activities and School Requirements

T1D Extracurricular Activities and School Requirements

T1D Extracurricular Activities and
School Requirements

School support is required

In our blog, 504 Plans and Extracurricular Activities  we addressed the risky gaps in care for Type 1 Diabetics. We had discovered parents were just assuming it was not covered by the school. Or simply, they picked up the slack and worry.

Simply stated – school support is legally required.

This does not mean the school has to keep the clinic open or provide a nurse. There are other various “accommodations”  a school can provide during the “off” hours to provide support.

Extracurricular Activities include
Band, Drill Team, Theater and more….

Here is what the school should provide:

  • Designate a TRAINED staff member to be responsible for the student during non-school hour Extracurricular Activities. This should also include all off-campus activities.
  • Provide Type 1 Diabetes Awareness Training to appropriate staff.
    • Differences between Type 1 vs. Type 2
    • Signs of High/Low blood sugars
    • Treatment responses for High/Low blood sugars
    • Emergency Response Procedure
    • Glucagon Training depending on the situation
  • Designate a staff member who will always have immediate access to emergency diabetes supplies.
    In some cases, requiring staff to carry and keep extra supplies throughout all activities on and off campus.
  • Depending on the activity and situation, the school may train staff in Glucagon administration.

Coaches Playbook for Diabetics

Share Brandon Green’s Handout with Coaches!

What is the parent’s role?

  • Informing the school of the student’s activity involvement.
  • Providing an extra set of emergency supplies including an EXTRA Glucagon.
  • Providing extra snacks/drinks for the activity
  • Knowing who is responsible for the child during activities. Know how to reach this person. This is important for parents who are monitoring on a CGM. During non-school hours, school phones may not be answered.
  • Allow the school to choose the staff member responsible to train. (The school can’t require non-medical staff to do training/treatment so another staff member may need to be chosen.)
  • Be ahead of the game. Inform the school with advance notice so they can train staff prior to the start of the extracurricular activity.
  • Don’t forget summer camps and summer training activities.

Communication is key

Good news! Most Extracurricular Activities occur in Middle School and High School. Even then, not all Type 1 Diabetic students may be able to self-manage completely depending on the stage since diagnosis. However, T1 students can and should communicate with their parents about a plan for these types of activities.

Communication is key when working with the school.

Information allows for accommodations

Most importantly, the Type 1 Diabetic student should not have to hide his condition to participate. Yes, there will be times a student may not be able to fully participate due to diabetes issues.

An informed and trained staff member should always accommodate the student in those situations. Diabetes should never prevent our kids from participating in the things they love.

Extracurricular Activities

Use this Checklist to Plan for Extracurricular Activities 

Type 1 To Go provides more information on reports and letters issued by the U.S. Department of Education specifically regarding students with disabilities and extracurricular activities. Please visit our Extracurricular Page for these resources.

In addition, T1TG offers the following To Go Tools for families including several guides from Brandon Green, T1D and former NFL football player. Check out the T1ToGo tools!

Extracurricular Activities with Type 1 Diabetes  is definitely a Team Sport between student, parents and school!

Get your game plan going!
Written by Anne Imber
published on 5/22/2017

Anne Imber is the mom to a Type 1 Diabetic son diagnosed in 2009. As the Founder of Type 1 To Go Teen, Anne shares her experiences with other Type 1 families regarding many of the non-medical issues that Type 1 Diabetic Teens face. The website www.Type1ToGo.com provides support materials from her presentations. Anne is also the Co-Founder of Cy Fair Type One Connection, a T1 School Advocacy & Support Group for one of the largest school districts in Texas.

This information provided for general use only.
It is not intended as medical and/or legal advice.
Always consult your doctor for medical advice.
All Rights Reserved. 

Related Blogs 

Related Pages to this Blog

Extracurricular Activities
Brandon Green (Sports with T1D)
504 Plans for Type 1s 

 

Get updates on T1ToGo Blogs and Events
Like our Facebook Page

Copyright © 2017 Type 1 To Go Resolutions. All Rights Reserved.
Disclosure & Disclaimer Page

The Impact of High Blood Sugars on Athletic Performance

The Impact of High Blood Sugars on Athletic Performance

The Impact of High Blood Sugars on Athletic Performance

The Impact of High Blood Sugars
on Athletic Performance

“It’s interesting to hear people talk about what they imagine high blood sugars do to athletic performance.”

Some people (those unfamiliar with Type 1 Diabetes) equate the “sugar high” of a small child with that of a T1D high blood sugar (glucose level). Any T1D will tell you that is far from the truth. I have had non-diabetics “joke” with me “You should just load yourself up with a bunch of sugar, get real high and you’ll be bouncing off the walls.”

Keep in mind, I like a little diabetes humor in my life and I value my friends for their creativity. My best friends know me well enough to join me in making fun of, and finding humor, in the disease. I know everyone is different but I feel laughter is just good for the soul!

But in this case, it’s not really as fun as it sounds and let me explain why…

Writing “under the influence”…

This particular blog is very easy for me to write as I was experiencing some low blood sugars earlier today. Then my levels spiked unexpectedly at dinner. Now you could say I am definitely writing this “under the influence” …of my 310 blood sugar from 10 minutes ago!

High Blood Sugars aren’t much fun at all

So instead of “bouncing off the walls” as some presume, my cheeks and lips are feeling uncomfortably dry. Even though I was in the restroom 10 minutes ago, I have that slight need “to go” feeling. My legs are a little tingly, and I’m a bit light‑headed.

Type 1 Diabetes and Sports

Blood sugar levels can affect performance from school athletics to the professional level.

The Better control, the more your feel it…

If you are a Type 1 Diabetic,  you know what I’m talking about. If you are not, I hope I have enlightened you as to why this is not as much fun as you might think. It’s common, it happens more than we T1s like to admit . And  it can actual do some pretty serious damage to my body over time.

The symptoms can vary from person to person and even from event to event. And the better control you have on your blood sugars, the more you feel the effect when you do go “high”.

Dealing with High Blood Sugars in the NFL

As an athlete, both at Rice University and in the NFL, I have learned a lot about dealing with high blood sugars and their impact on performance. For some reason, my time with the St. Louis Rams is more memorable than others, maybe because the Rams played in a dome.

Different environments, different adjustments

I learned to read my body thru the years and knew the impact a “dome” environment would have in detail. Things like humidity, heat index, etc. don’t “trick” your mind and you don’t feel their effect as much. I learned to make different “adjustments” when I was going to be competing in a dome.

High Blood Sugars meant half the number of plays…

I was 6’3” tall and 265 lbs at my preferred playing weight. On a “good” game day (defined as level blood sugars for several days prior), I could handle 5 kickoffs at full speed and compete in 8 consecutive plays before my body began to slow down, negatively affect my performance.

What would really make me mad was going into a game when I was high (blood sugar that is). No matter how hard I tried and how much I didn’t want it to happen, the number of plays I could compete in would be cut in half. If I could normally do 8 plays, I would only be able to complete in 4 plays at my top speed.

Dehydration is dangerous….

If I was high the night before the game, it might be even worse. A high night time blood sugar meant my body had hours to dehydrate before I even realized it.

Dehydration is not only dangerous.
I
t can also cripple the performance of any athlete.

And, as an athlete with diabetes, this will happen whether you are disciplined with your water intake or not.

If you sleep all night with a high blood sugar you will wake up dehydrated.

CGMs made a difference for me

CGMs (Continuous Glucose Monitors) made a huge difference for me in this area.  Everyone has their own opinion on CGMs, but for me, using a CGM made a difference in my athletic performance.

Before my CGM, I used to set my alarm every couple of hours, get up and check my blood sugar.  Now, I love my sleep as much as any man, but I’d rather be woken up in the middle of the night and give myself a shot, than to wake up dehydrated and feeling like I didn’t sleep at all.

Being woken up 4 times a night to check my blood sugar vs. waking up high is a pretty crummy choice to have to make…

I recall going back and forth on this issue, and that should tell you that when my professional career was on the line, it was important enough to try some pretty drastic measures!

CGMs do offer an advantage

So it’s my personal view that CGMs offer an advantage for Type 1 Diabetic athletes. You can get great sleep the night before a game, waking only if your blood sugar gets above the range you set. If your blood sugar stays stable thru the night then you get great sleep without interruption.

Either way, you are better prepared to perform at your best.

The point is…

Whatever works for you- whether its traditional testing or a CGM- the point is to keep those glucose readings level.

High Blood sugars wreak havoc on your body so do whatever you can to keep level.  And especially avoid the night time highs!

It’s worth the effort and it can be done…you will see a huge difference in your performance!

This information provided for general use only.
It is not intended as medical and/or legal advice.
Always consult your doctor for medical advice.
All Rights Reserved. 

Written by Brandon Green
published on 5/16/2017 by Type 1 To Go

Brandon Green was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes at the age of 10. He has played a multitude of sports throughout High School. He has a degree in Kinesiology from Rice University where he played football throughout college. Brandon played in the NFL with the Jacksonville Jaguars, St. Louis Rams and ended his career with the Seattle Seahawks. In addition to playing sports at all levels, Brandon has coached Middle School and High School sports. For athletics and diabetes, he brings a complete perspective from player to coach.

An avid spokesman for Type 1 Diabetes, Brandon Green is a motivational speaker encouraging children and families living with diabetes. In addition to his professional career with Sundance Memory Care, he blogs and provides support for www.Type1ToGo.com. For more information on Brandon Green, please visit his page here.

For updates on blogs,
please LIKE our Facebook page
or Follow us on Twitter!

 Related Blogs to this Post

Related Tools to this Topic

Athletic Practices Guide for Diabetics by Brandon Green

Coaches Playbook for Diabetics by Brandon Green 

Extracurricular Activities Checklist  (For Diabetic Students in Public School) 

Copyright © 2017 Type 1 To Go Resolutions. All Rights Reserved.
Disclosure & Disclaimer Page

504 Plans for Type 1 Diabetics and Extracurricular Activities

504 Plans for Type 1 Diabetics and Extracurricular Activities

504 Plans for Type 1 Diabetics and Extracurricular Activities

A risky gap in care?

504 Plans for Type 1 Diabetics:

          Include Extracurricular Activities!!!

Let me REPEAT that!

504 Plans for Type 1 Diabetics should include Extracurricular Activities.

Not just the NAME of the activity.
The DETAILS!

And this is critically important for Type 1 Diabetics in Middle School and High School Activities.

A scary moment

The single scariest moment for our Type 1 Diabetes School Advocacy group was when we realized just how risky the gap in care was for our Type 1 students during their Extracurricular Activities.

The problem with Extracurricular Activities

Before and After school practices
On and Off campus activities
Field trips
Summer Camps

The various activities our kids want to participate in are countless. The problem: they don’t always take place during school hours.  And yet, school nurses and their clinics may only be available during “normal” school hours.

All those emergency supplies – they could also be LOCKED IN THE CLINIC when your child needs them.

In spite of your 504 plan, your school may not be prepared

In 2013, the U.S. Department of Education Office of Civil Rights clarified the importance of extracurricular athletics. Through this formal letter, schools were reminded to provide accommodations to students during ALL school related athletics activities.

In addition, the OCR has also addressed “Nonacademic Services and Activities stating “Students may not be excluded on the basis of disability from participating in extracurricular activities and nonacademic services.”

Simplified, a public school is required to provide medical support during any school related activity. However, even with a thorough 504 plan, the school may not be prepared to provide your child with adequate support.

What?!!! How can that be? 

In all honesty, because we are FORGETTING to tell them!

Blissfully unaware…

Being a T1 school advocate has taught me a lot. And it scares me that so many T1 parents are blissfully unaware. They are assuming that everything is handled without realizing the complexity of these activities. I have been GUILTY of this too!

I failed to mention to the school that my son’s Cross Country Team ran off campus every morning before school started. In fact, they started over the SUMMER running in the local parks. A school activity required by the Coach. We got lucky because that was a disaster waiting to happen. Extracurricular Activities require a team effort in communication between you, your child and your school. 

Athletics, Fine Arts, Summer Camps… 

Do NOT forget Summer Camps. It is exciting that more and more Type 1 Diabetic students are fully engaged in all kinds of Activities. Even if it takes place over the summer, your school still needs to provide support. You should communicate this in the Spring semester.

The worst thing you can do is to assume the school has it handled because your Type 1 student has a 504.

My favorite motto:

It’s the parent’s job to communicate,
 it’s the school’s job to facilitate!

Yes, of course, it is the school’s legal obligation to provide medical support. But they can’t do it without your help. The details are going to matter here. With your help and the appropriate staff, you can create a good game plan.

Advance planning is essential. Extracurricular Activities may involve many people and different departments.

Plan ahead with a T1D Activity Checklist

Don’t know where to start? Use this T1D Activity Checklist to plan ahead. Ask your 504 Coordinator and school nurse to help you update the 504 Plan. Provide plenty of input regarding the support your child may need. By planning ahead, you will allow the necessary time to train the appropriate staff.

An EXTRA supply kit with EVERYTHING is a must have!!! This will allow the Activity school staff to have the supplies when needed.

Identify potential gaps with the Extracurricular Activity Plan

T1ToGo has also created the Extracurricular Activity Plan to help you identify the potential gaps in care before you approach the school. You should review this with your child ahead of time. With your input, the school will need to identify who to train. They will also need to designate a staff member responsible for keeping track of emergency supplies.

Keep a copy of the Extracurricular Activity Plan handy yourself. For parents monitoring their kids remotely, this can be your list of emergency contacts. This is critical when the school is closed and no one is answering the phone.

Type 1 To Go Extracurricular Resources

Type 1 To Go provides more information on reports and letters issued by the U.S. Department of Education specifically regarding students with disabilities and extracurricular activities. Please visit our Extracurricular Page for these resources.

In addition, T1TG offers the following To Go Tools for families including several guides from Brandon Green, T1D and former NFL football player.

Check out the T1ToGo tools!

Get an “A” in Extracurricular Activities

You are not alone if you assumed that Extracurricular Activities were “covered” when you did your student’s 504 Plan. To get an “A’ though, you will need to add some more details. With more information, the school can help minimize the potential for gaps in care. This is truly a Team effort.

 

Written by Anne Imber
published on 3/20/2017

Anne Imber is the mom to a Type 1 Diabetic son diagnosed in 2009. As the Founder of Type 1 To Go Teen, Anne shares her experiences with other Type 1 families regarding many of the non-medical issues that Type 1 Diabetic Teens face. The website www.Type1ToGo.com provides support materials from her presentations. Anne is also the Co-Founder of Cy Fair Type One Connection, a T1 School Advocacy & Support Group for one of the largest school districts in Texas.

This information provided for general use only.
It is not intended as medical and/or legal advice.
Always consult your doctor for medical advice.
All Rights Reserved. 

Related blogs 

Related Pages to this Blog

Extracurricular Activities
Brandon Green (Sports with T1D)
504 Plans for Type 1s 

 

Get updates on T1ToGo Blogs and Events
Like our Facebook Page

Copyright © 2017 Type 1 To Go Resolutions. All Rights Reserved.
Disclosure & Disclaimer Page

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

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

4 Day Grit, Football and Diabetes Part 2

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 – 1 Gatorade to 2 Waters (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
Published on www.type1togo.com
3/1/2017

Brandon Green was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes at the age of 10. He has played a multitude of sports throughout High School. He has a degree in Kinesiology from Rice University where he played football throughout college. Brandon played in the NFL with the Jacksonville Jaguars, St. Louis Rams and ended his career with the Seattle Seahawks. In addition to playing sports at all levels, Brandon has coached Middle School and High School sports. For athletics and diabetes, he brings a complete perspective from player to coach.

An avid spokesman for Type 1 Diabetes, Brandon Green is a motivational speaker encouraging children and families living with diabetes. In addition to his professional career with Sundance Memory Care, he blogs and provides support for www.Type1ToGo.com. For more information on Brandon Green, please visit his page here.

Get updates on T1ToGo Blogs and Events
Like our Facebook Page

This information provided for general use only.
It is not intended as medical and/or legal advice.
Always consult your doctor for medical advice.
All Rights Reserved. 

Athletic Practices Guide for Diabetics

Print your own simplified, summarized Guide of Brandon’s Tips 
for intense Athletic workouts. 

Coaches Playbook for Diabetics

Brandon’s Coaches Guide
A Handout for your Coaches!

Copyright © 2017 Type 1 To Go Resolutions. All Rights Reserved.
Disclosure & Disclaimer Page

4 Day Grit, Football and Diabetes Part 1 by Brandon Green

4 Day Grit, Football and Diabetes Part 1 by Brandon Green

4 Day Grit, Football and Diabetes

I know a little a bit about Grit, Football and Diabetes. I had the privilege of playing 5 years in the National Football League as a Defensive End. My journey and the lessons learned didn’t start there. They started 15 years earlier on the gridiron of Industrial Junior High, just outside Edna, Texas. There in the hot August sun, my T1D body was tested in the tough, physically demanding world of
2-day football practices.

4 Day Grit, Football and Diabetes


I titled this 4-day Grit, because I found throughout my 15-year football life that the first 4 days were always the most difficult. Sometimes as diabetics we feel our body functions in a “robotic” style. We think we control and alter our physical state by just adjusting our insulin injections.

In reality, it’s not that simple. Our body transitions and evolves to find equilibrium in its environment.

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

Prior to the NFL, Brandon played
for Rice University. 

First 4 days take grit!

In my experience, once I passed the 4-day mark my blood sugars would level off. Amazingly, the drastic rises and falls smoothed out. In fact, minus the first 3 days, 2‑days were by far my best blood sugars of all time! But it’s important to know, those first 4 days take grit.

They had to be fought through and well managed to get to the “promised land.” That place where an apple in the middle of the day only raises your blood sugar 30 points because your metabolism sucks it up so fast and your body refuses not to stay in equilibrium….

I would start a week out…

Low blood sugars, especially at night, were always the concern. I don’t think I ever survived a 2‑days season without getting low at night at least twice in those first 4 days. Sometimes more. The shock, no matter how good of shape I was in, was something that my body didn’t easily handle.

My last 2 years in the NFL, I would start a week out. I’d get up early and exercise at the same times as my upcoming 2‑day practices. This may have helped some, but I just wasn’t able to mimic the intensity and stress of true 2‑days workouts. The shock would normally send my blood sugars down in a hurry. And the effect of the physical activity would linger and strike later in the day when I wasn’t expecting it.

This was the norm for 3‑4 days. Then my blood sugars leveled out and became much easier to manage. There were still times of highs and lows, but never as intense as those early days.

So, I learned some things over the years..

And I thought I’d share the first half of my 4 day Grit plan with you today. These key points, and some grit, helped make my dream become a reality. I hope they benefit you!

Number 1. You CANNOT be an Undisciplined Diabetic Athlete

This is not only dangerous, but it just isn’t possible. It’s not a dream killer, its just reality. If your pancreas worked perfectly and you were NOT disciplined, your chances of achieving your dream drop pretty much to zero. So in a way, the discipline needed to achieve your goal must be there whether you have diabetes or not. But for diabetics, it is unsafe, impractical, and unwise to try to be an Undisciplined Diabetic Athlete. The words don’t even make sense when you put them together.

Number 2. Consistent CGM/Glucose monitoring is key

You must – at all times – know what your blood sugar is.  And more importantly, the direction it is heading. And this must be done as often as possible in these early days.

If a CGM is not possible, or not practical at your position, you must have an alternative plan. When you are not in practice, you must check before every change in schedule and every 10‑20 minutes if you are heading into an activity. A 30 minute and 10 minute check prior to practice is essential.

A 30 minute check gives you the ability to consume a complex carbohydrate (granola bars or power bars) and forget how they taste! They offer protein with complex carbs, which last longer.  A 10-minute check lets you know where you are heading and if you need the boost of simple sugars (Gatorade). Consumed quickly, they have time to work  through stretching to have you ready for your first individual period (or whatever practice scheduled station.)

Number 3. Bump up to a “45 minute- Let it Ride” rule

I bump up my game day “30 min – Let it Ride” rule to 45 min in the first 4 days. Blood sugars will probably be high as your body tries to correct and rebound from the low blood sugars and the added adrenaline.

Set boundaries for corrections. The biggest temptation with CGMs or consistent blood sugar testing is to over correct with your insulin. YOU CAN BOTTOM OUT QUICKLY with the increased exercise, so I learned to not help the crash by greasing the track with insulin.

Some practices you just have to endure a high blood sugar and “Ride it out”. These were not fun and you must constantly drink water to keep hydrated. But you do not want to increase the likelihood of a blood sugar crash from a late delivery of insulin. On a performance level, the crash is so physically demanding your blood sugar doesn’t have to be low to affect you. It will make you feel so tired you can barely function. A high sugar day is a tough day, but in those first 4 days, you have to Beware the Insulin Crash!

More rules coming in Part 2

So these were my first three rules. They were critical in getting me through the first 4 days of 2-days. These tips were learned the hard way and helped me realize my dream of making it to the NFL.

Part 2 of this blog will give you the final rules I followed along my football journey!
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Written by Brandon Green
Published on www.type1togo.com
3/1/2017

Brandon Green was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes at the age of 10. He has played a multitude of sports throughout High School. He has a degree in Kinesiology from Rice University where he played football throughout college. Brandon played in the NFL with the Jacksonville Jaguars, St. Louis Rams and ended his career with the Seattle Seahawks. In addition to playing sports at all levels, Brandon has coached Middle School and High School sports. For athletics and diabetes, he brings a complete perspective from player to coach.

An avid spokesman for Type 1 Diabetes, Brandon Green is a motivational speaker encouraging children and families living with diabetes. In addition to his professional career with Sundance Memory Care, he blogs and provides support for www.Type1ToGo.com. For more information on Brandon Green, please visit his page here.

Read Brandon’s final tips at Four Day Grit, Football and Diabetes Part 2. 

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This information provided for general use only.
It is not intended as medical and/or legal advice.
Always consult your doctor for medical advice.
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