Sports after diagnosis

Hello my son is 12 and was diagnosed a month ago and he used to wrestle for 3 years however since his diagnosis we have not taken him back to practice yet … he seems to drop out of nowhere in the evening almost everyday and that is when his practices are for about an 1 to 2 hours so I’m concerned if I take him to practice he’ll just drop or not be at his full capacity to wrestle … he is not on a pump or dexcom and won’t be for a while so I need advice on anyone with children who are active with or without a dexcom and what u do to avoid the lows and also how long did you wait before going back to your sport activity. Especially wrestling please!!! My concerns are.

  1. I’m terrified of him being low

  2. He doesn’t have a dexcom so he pokes himself to check sugar which is not a problem but when I get the dexcom will it fall off while wrestling and is he able to wear it in a wrestling singlet

  3. His wrestling tournaments are all day 8am - 3pm.

@Jojojazz89 hi Christina and welcome to Type One Nation.

Sports are great and it is very important for your son to continue, not just for the exercise but for fitting in and proving that this disease changes nothing.

I get your fear, but please arm yourself with information. Please consider working with a CDE to get the right nutrition and strategies for sports, studying, and everything in between. In 10,000 hours you will be an expert and this will not be as new to you - but for now you have some studying to do.

He’s probably begun to mke insulin again and it is common to reduce and sometimes go off insulin for weeks or months right after you start. This is called “Honeymoon” and while a stupid name, just means his body will make insulin for a little while. Diabetes is not going away, so please trust that this is temporary.

The CDE can instruct on how to reduce long acting insulin and meal insulin for days of vigorous activity, and it doesn’t matter pump or pen(shots) it’s the same thing. Unlike other diseases, diabetes forces you and your son to make the primary medicine decisions - while that may seem scary, you will be an expert with practice.

A pump and CGM may limit his ability for wresting, or probably get in the way. There are accommodations for wrestling but if he puts a pod on his shoulder and the CGM on his waist… they might not let him play. "reasonable accommodations” are mandatory but for HS wrestling, he cannot change the basis of the contest - he can’t have “no touch” medical protrusions where the opponent is not allowed to grab him by, for example.

The next year will be a learning experience for you both - I’ve had T1 for 40 years now and it’s a pain in the ass (pardon the pun) but it becomes background noise to the things in life that are really important.

Please let us know how you and he are doing. Please consider the book “Think Like a Pancreas” for self-learning and do not forget to take care of yourself.

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Thank you so much and I appreciate your response you have helped me understand the pump and monitor for wrestling also on the whole honeymoon stage!

C.Jimenez

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@Jojojazz89 Welcome Christina to the JDRF TypeOneNation forum page.

Sports and almost every other activity in which your son can participate will do much for his well-being physically, socially, academically and mentally. Returning to the wrestling which he likes will help him realize, understand, that diabetes will NOT keep him from reaching his life dreams.

Pumps, continuous glucose monitors and even digital BG meters are really awesome tools but diabetes can be successfully managed without these tools. There isn’t anything much that diabetes has kept me from and I’ve lived life with diabetes very actively and achieved. I didn’t begin using a CGM until my 62nd year with diabetes and got my first pump in my 48th year; the digital BGM wasn’t invented until after I had diabetes for 25 years and at that time the cost was prohibitive for me.

I know that right now you and your son are working hard trying to figure out that very delicate balance between food, activity and insulin - but soon you will develop that skill. Activity is the most difficult for me - even after many years - but with careful observation you - your son - will get a good idea. Learn what you can and continue asking for suggestions.

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@Jojojazz89 Hi Christina.

I’m 16 now and was diagnosed last February. I’m a Varsity cross country runner and cyclist and have been working through many similar situations to you and your son.

While everyone is different, I have found that eating a granola bar before I start practice, and then eating and additional snack (appx 15g of carbs) every 45-60 minutes has helped me to maintain my blood sugar while participating in sports.

I began practicing again 2-3 weeks after I was diagnosed and also started without a dexcom or pump. When I was doing finger pokes, I was told to check before I started, and then every 30 minutes in addition to if I didn’t feel quite right.

I currently use a dexcom and don’t usually experience any problems with it falling off; however, since wrestling is physical, I can’t speak to how well it will stay on. Some methods that I have used are adhesives such as tuf-skin and skin-tac along with a patch such as those from sim-patch.

Sports have always been an important part of my life and returning to them helped me realize that being a T1D won’t stop you from doing what you like and want to do.

I hope some of this can help!

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My son was diagnosed a little over a year ago at the age of 10. It’s only natural to think like that, but my son had his best year of playing hockey last year and diabetes hasn’t slowed him down. The one question we ask ourselves now is, “would we allow him to do it if he didn’t have diabetes” and the answer 99.99% of the time is yes, so he continues to do everything he’s done in the past as if he weren’t diagnosed. Don’t let it stop you or define who he is.

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@20XC21 Will, thanks for your contribution to the thread. I’m sure it was encouraging for the post-Er to hear from a person closer to her son’s age! Good suggestions!

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I understand - my son was diagnosed this past July, in the middle of a busy baseball season. Days were long, and double headers could last 4-5 hours. He came home from the hospital on a Monday and was back on the mound on Wednesday - while I had panic attacks on the side lines. He played for about 6 weeks without the benefit of a Dexcom (and I aged tremendously during that time!). We followed the advice the others listed above - frequent finger sticks, eating a granola bar before taking the field, letting him run a little high, and having smarties/juice boxes on hand in the event of a low. It has its challenges, but as you know, it’s best to let them continue to do what they love to do.

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Thank you :pray:t4: so much for all the info

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Yes thank you so much !!!

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Great suggestions. IMO 1st step is to work with endo to minimize/eliminate the evening lows which might be a slight reduction of rapid or long insulin. Yes, it is important to test before any activity that you are particularly concerned with and have snacks &/or glucose tabs readily available.
When/if a CGM is used, consider with endo if an alternative sensor site is possible. My alternative is upper thigh slightly toward the inside (4-6 inches from genitals).

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I agree with many tips already posted. Our son is 16, diagnosed at 12 and plays basketball and baseball. He uses Dexcom and Omnipod which I highly recommend. Omnipod is a tubeless pump do he doesn’t have to be connected to the pump itself. That was the best choice for us given our son’s activities. We have not had any issues with adhesive not working or falling off even with vigorous activity.

Regarding the blood sugars, realize that muscle utilizes glucose independent of insulin. So if he has a high carb meal and takes a lot of insulin, and exercises while his insulin is active (about 4 hours after injection), that is almost always a recipe for a low for our son. When we know he has practice, we try to feed him early and try to minimize (but not restrict) carbs so that he has little Insulin on Board by the time practice rolls around. Depending upon his blood sugar, he takes 20-40 “quick carbs” - think fruit juice or anything with which you would treat a low - and 20 “slower carbs” like a granola bar. Once his sugar is in what we call our safe range for exercise , 120-140, he peeks at his dexcom hourly and typically needs 20 carbs for every hour of moderate to vigorous exercise. Finally, he has another 20 carbs (usually chocolate milk) after practice to help replenish his glucagon stores.

That’s a lot of info and everyone is different and once you think you have it down, things will change. Be patient and know you are doing your best. I would highly recommend a book called Pumping Insulin if you are considering a pump. Very helpful in understanding the basics and also with advanced pumping topics when you are ready. Best of luck to you both.

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Praying for you and your son. My son is 16 and was diagnosed in January. Mainly, I just want to encourage you and let you know that things do get better. Please persevere through and encourage your son to keep wrestling. My son seems to learn more and more each day how to manage exercise and Dexcom and Tandem tslimx2 have been game-changers. Pursue the CGM and pump ASAP. JDRF has great materials on the website for coaches and teachers, so educate everyone around your son so you don’t have to live in fear, but know it will still creep up and that is normal. Our boys will ultimately be stronger because of this. Blessings to you and your family.

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Hello. I completely understand how terrifying it is to have your child continue playing contact sports. I have 2 who were diagnosed with type 1. My eldest played football. He continued without a hiccup- he checked his numbers before games, made sure he was at least at 120 (he would give me a thumbs up after checking on the field during half time too). My daughter played multiple sports, including HS soccer. With her she similarly checked before, but with her- adrenaline kicked in and she ran high during games so she didn’t need to be at a high # before games. We usually didn’t have her correct even if she was above 200 because she would definitely come down quickly after games. It is a juggle but you both will quickly figure out what works. They are both on CGM’s now but in High School they just checked themselves very often during sports- coaches were aware and very helpful to include important supplies on hand. I hope this helps.

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When my son was diagnosed with t1d and his older brother welas “at risk” but not yet diagnosed, we researched and wrestling was taken outbof the nix, even though they were both pretty good… There are too many ways to be unhealthy if trying to make weight,

Thank you all again it is nice to hear all the stories

Hi Christina,

For what it’s worth I was back in the gym the week after coming home from the hospital to test out how my body would react. Granted, I was 25 when diagnosed. And one of the things all of us who have T1D experience is low sugars from exercise. Unfortunately there will be a trial and error period your son will need to go through, and you’ll need to go through it with him. All of us react differently to different types of activity. Take swimming for example. As a triathlete, my sugars histroically drop between 80-100 points every long swim. The important thing is to have snacks, glucose gels, gaterades on hand. God forbid the worst case scenario where he goes so low, and he crashes, then I’d recommend the newest glucagon kit known as baqsimi (nasal use only).

As long as he’s testing regularly leading up to an event and follows a consistent diet, then usually he should be able to have some consistent control. But I’m sure his ratios will fluctuate based on the activity , espeically at his age; going through body changes, etc. [competing in an event vs practice will have different levels of adrenaline, which could actually make him go high for a bit and crash later].

At least things I’ve experienced these things as a traithlete and weight lifter. Obviously his endochronologist will be the best resource for the science around these things, and be the most adapt to helping him with a logical plan. And honestly, it will go a long way if his teammates and coach just rally around him and be made aware while he’s competing.

As for the Dexcom. If when he can get a CGM, I’d recommend the G6 (that’s what I use), it’s a much flatter option, and if put on the rear buttocks just below his hip, it should be okay as it would be covered by clothing. They are very difficult to come off, but understandable concern.

This link could be a very good resource for you: http://www.diabetessportsproject.com/resources

Good luck to your son and you as you go through this life change! Believe me, it does get better the longer he has the disease and begins to understand his body. There’s nothing he can’t do, even with Diabetes!

Best,

Jason

Hi Christina
Being on insulin and doing sports is a little challenging but definitely doable. I was first diagnosed when I was 11 long before pumps or sensors were on the market. It definitely should be possible for your son to compete. I played high school football and then switched to karate and competed for about 20 plus years. As most of the people have pointed out CGM’s and a pump are probably not the best alternative for wrestling. I agree with the recommendations about adjusting insulin and carb loading on days of exercise. I would also like to recommend your son keeping some fast acting carbs handy and for him to take some if he feels even a little off mentally or physically. Do a blood test if possible but that’s not always an easy thing to do. Ultimately it’s going to be up to your son to identify hypoglycemia but it wouldn’t hurt to inform the coach or other trainers…