Coaching Athletes With Diabetes

Coaching athletes with diabetes should not necessarily be alarming if the coach is knowledgeable in regard to the athletes' condition and needs. Many older athletes, under the guidance of their physician are self managing, youth athletes are usually under parental management. The coaches 'responsibility is to be knowledgeable and supportive of the athletes' condition and wise enough to incorporate some proactive measures to ward off possible problems or react properly given an emergency.

Information for the coach:

Diabetes is a condition affecting the way the body uses glucose. Glucose, a simple sugar formed from some of the certain digested foods, is the fundamental fuel for most cells. Athletes with untreated diabetes have too much glucose in their blood.

Insulin, a hormone produced in the pancreas, helps move the glucose move from the blood into the cells. Athletes with diabetes may not be naturally making sufficient amounts of insulin, the normal process insufficiency working, or a combination of both resulting in a high level of sugar in the blood.

There are three types of diabetes, type 1, type 2 and gestational diabetes.

Type 1 diabetes occurs when your body produces an insufficient amount of insulin or none.

Type 2 diabetes occurs when the body produces an insufficient amount of insulin or a sufficient amount, but is unable to use it. This accounts for 90 to 95 percent of all cases.

Type 3 is Gestational diabetes affecting approximately 2 to 3 percent of all pregnant women.

Helping Athletes Manage their Diabetes:

Although the athlete is under a doctors care the more knowledgeable the coach is of the athletes' condition and management program, the more support he / she can be. The coach can reinvigorate the necessity of the athlete to follow t] his / her meal plan, activity routine, use of medications as prescribed, testing schedule, and emergency plan. Best practices would suggest having the physician and parent provide an emergency medical plan, containing contact numbers, health conditions, treatment, and so forth. This emergency medical information should be a hard copy that can be kept at practices and taken to games.

Know the Warning Signs:

Hyperglycemia is a condition of high blood sugar. Symptoms include:

Slow healing of cuts and bruises. Infections. Vision problems. Unusual tiredness. Urinating more frequently than usual. Excessive hunger. Excessive thirst Keep in mind these symptoms may not be spontaneous. They can happen over hours, days, or even weeks. At times there may not be any symptoms at all.

Typical causes include:

Not following the prescribed meal plan. Taking less medication than prescribed. Skipping medication. Being Ill or emotionally upset. (The emergency medical plan should include information regarding the influence of competition on emotions and its' affect on the athlete).

Possible treatments:

Follow the prescribed meal plan '. Take prescribed medications. Manage emotions

Hypoglycemia or low blood sugar. Symptoms include:

Headache. Shakiness. Hunger. Changes in demeanor. Racing heart beat. Confused. Slurring of speech. Convulsions. Loss of consciousness

Typical Causes:

Eating less than usual. Skipping a snack or delaying a meal. Imbalance of increased activity and food ateen. Having taken more than the prescribed amount of medication. Need for insulin or medication has physiologically changed

Possible treatments:

Check blood sugar and if at or below 70 mg / dl then drink 4 to 8 ounces of fruit juice, or 6 to 8 ounces of skim milk, or 4 sugar packs. Wait 15 minutes and if feeling better eat a balanced snack.

If not feeling better check the blood sugar if it remains at or below 70 mg / dl then follow the above steps .. If the athlete is not feeling better then seek urgent medical care.

Other fast acting sugars include 4 to 6 oz. of a regular soft drink not diet, or 2 table spoons of raisins, or 3 to 4 glucose tablets.