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 For more information on Brandon Green, please visit his page here.

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