November Bringing Awareness to Diabetes
November is Diabetes Awareness Month and this awareness campaign hits close to the Dragons’ hearts, as one of our own, #7 Connor Boyd, is a type 1 diabetic. We caught up with Connor to discuss the challenges of being an elite athlete and being diabetic.
When did you discover you were a diabetic?
Connor: I was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes when I was 8 years old.
What does Type 1 mean?
Connor: Type 1 diabetes occurs when the body attacks and kills the insulin producing beta cells in the pancreas. Insulin is an essential hormone needed by the body to obtain energy from food. For a Type 1 diabetic this means that since your body no longer produces insulin you rely on multiple injections each day to keep their blood glucose levels in check.
How do you control your diabetes?
Connor: On a daily basis I must take multiple blood sugar checks – usually before I eat anything – and give myself multiple insulin injections also before I eat.
What challenges do you face playing hockey with diabetes?
Connor: One of the challenges I face while playing a high level of hockey is that I constantly have to make sure that my blood sugar levels are at the optimal level I need them to be to play my best. If my sugars are too high or too low it can affect my play on the ice and I notice right away. I am very fortunate to have Michelle Beatty our athletic therapist always making sure that my blood sugar levels are in range and making sure I have a full stock of Gatorades and Skittles ready if I need them.
What advice would you give to young athletes with diabetes?
Connor: Don’t let being a diabetic hold you back from doing something you love. If you are passionate about a sport, listen to your doctors and ask them questions. They will tell you what you need to do in order to play the sport you love safely.
In recognition of Diabetes Awareness Month, the Dragons will be wearing special edition grey jerseys in the November 28 game vs. Bonnyville Pontiacs at the Drumheller Memorial Arena. The jerseys will be auctioned off after the game with proceeds going to ten local Drumheller and area charitable organizations.