It’s time for spring sports in the south! Sara is currently playing tennis. Josh is now in college, but when he was younger he played on soccer and baseball teams. Your child with diabetes can play sports, they just need to take a few precautions to be safe! Here’s a few things to keep in mind:
- Medical Form: Make sure the medical form contains a diagnosis of type 1 diabetes. In case of emergency, medical personnel will need to know!
- Inform the coach that your child has diabetes. Make sure the coach understands that if your child has a low blood sugar, he must leave the field for a break. Educate the coach on what diabetes is, the potential for a low blood sugar due to increased activity, and the potential for missed playing time for a high or low blood sugar.
- Keep a bag packed with diabetes essentials, including a meter, insulin, glucagon, and lots of snacks for low blood sugar. We always kept extra gatorade in our kids’ bags for low blood sugar. They would also drink some gatorade at half time, especially during soccer which is super active, just to prevent a low blood sugar. Depending on what the blood sugar is before the game, a snack may be needed before playing. Here’s a post on treating low blood sugar.
- Know that the increased activity can affect blood sugar for up to 12, even 24 hours. Keep alert for lows, especially overnight after a long game. If your child is on a pump and you are noticing low blood sugars consistently after games, consider doing a temporary basal at a lower rate to prevent hypoglycemia. If your child is taking shots, talk with the doctor about decreasing the dose. Also keep in mind that some kids’blood sugar rises as they play due to adrenaline. Be careful with correcting because the blood sugar can fall quickly after they settle back down.
- Know that diabetes does NOT stop your child from playing a sport and being his or her best! There are many professionals athletes with type 1 diabetes and they are doing fine. Sports just require some extra steps when you have diabetes to be safe.