Last week former Blazer Chris Dudley joined Chad on Flight 750 to talk about the “Circle on the Court” to help promote diabetes awareness and research. And Wednesday we had the pleasure of welcoming Dudley and his friend, former Pittsburgh Steeler Kendall Simmons into the 750 Cockpit to talk to us about the challenges they faced as athletes with diabetes. But more important, they joined us to talk about World Diabetes Day.Simmons spoke to some of the biggest challenges he faced as a player trying to balance diabetes and an athletics career.
“The hardest part about it - being an offensive lineman – I couldn’t come out of the game. So when I didn’t feel well, I had to learn how to deal with that. Football is mental and that definitely added to that mental side of what to push yourself through.
Simmons also talked about how timeouts for him during games compared to timeouts for the typical football player.
“During timeouts, most people are getting water. I’m checking my blood sugar or getting me my insulin.”
Simmons and Dudley both emphasize that the most important thing you can do if you find out you have the disease or you find out that a loved one has the disease is create a support system between yourself and those you value the most.
“Getting the support from your doctors to your group around you to help people understand what you have and how to help you deal with it is important…It’s really that support around you that’s so important to help you keep on track.
With World Diabetes Day, there are three things that Dudley and Simmons are really looking to promote:
1. Awareness – Do you have diabetes or are you at risk for diabetes? Learn the symptoms and identify risk factors that might lead to the disease.
2. Assistance – Get the test and keep getting the test every year if you are an at risk individual.
3. Attitude – If you get the disease, it’s not the end of the world. Don’t let diabetes control your life. As Dudley states, “You have diabetes. It does not have you.”
Take a listen to the interview and be sure to check with your doctor if you have any concerns at all that you may be at risk for diabetes.