Healthy Living

Major League Player Supports Diabetes Awareness and Excels on the Field

Major League Player Battles Diabetes While Excelling on the Field

Adam Duvall of the Cincinnati Reds Photo Credit: AP Photo/John Minchillo Source:

Most people dream about being an astronaut, firefighter or footballer when they're young. So many days during childhood are spent thinking about what they want to be when they're grown up, that it made kids want to practice what they loved for when they're older. Everything was possible in those fantastic worlds of childhood where all dreams seem reachable. However, these dreams can be limited by anxiety, fear and chronic conditions like diabetes.

But, there are some cases that can serve as an inspiration for people with diabetes, knowing that the limit is imposed because of them--not their disease.

There are some cases of famous people who have achieved many of their goals in the entertainment world. Nick Jonas, Tom Hanks and Salma Hayek are just a few examples of celebrities who do not allow diabetes define who they are.

Then, there are less noticeable celebrities and athletes who maintain their diabetic condition while achieving their dreams. And, one of them is baseball player Adam Duvall.

Leaving diabetes outside the field

The case of young Adam Duvall is definitely one to highlight. The 29-year-old baseball player is currently playing for the Cincinnati Reds as a left fielder, and is one of the best examples of successful careers held by people with diabetes.

The young player started his professional career at the Giants A-ball club when he was 22 years old. At that age, Duvall had to face the biggest setback for his dream of advancing to the majors, being diagnosed with type 1 diabetes after losing over 20 pounds during the 2010 season.

It was not the first warning for Adam, he had been diagnosed prediabetic during his childhood, but he and his parents stopped paying attention to it because it didn’t affect his life in any way. However, everything changed when the diagnosis was confirmed by the doctor in the middle of the 2010 season, uncovering an unanticipated setback for Adam’s career.

Not letting the condition take the wheel, Duvall kept practicing, and his successful career elevated him to where he is now as an All-Star player. All this thanks to a lot of hard work and making his diabetes a priority.

First steps against the condition

Duvall started feeling the effects of the disease while being on the field when he felt exhausted and fatigued. This lack of energy is also the most common symptom that diabetics display. 

Taking into account how demanding a baseball season is, it was almost torture while he had uncontrolled blood sugar levels. However, educational classes on diabetes and the assistance of a medical team served as helping hands for Duvall when creating a daily routine that helped him managed his energy during the day. Protein bars and bottles of Gatorade were essential while he was in the dugout.

Later on, after he joined the Giants, he was introduced to a new method that was able to deliver insulin into the body, which only included pushing a button through a plastic tube called an infusion set that had to be attached to the abdomen. This was the perfect solution in order to forget about insulin injections.

Other habits and things done by Duvall in order to control his condition

Among other precautions and daily actions taken by Duvall, here are a couple recommendations that physicians also recommend:

  • Carrying a continuous glucose monitor (CGM) which generated a sugar graph every five minutes. 
  • Drinking a lot of liquids to keep hydrated, especially during hot days.
  • Keeping a healthy diet that helps him receive the insulin delivered and use it for common digestive processes.

Duvall has regained the muscle mass he lost before being diagnosed with diabetes (as well as the mass he lost immediately after the diagnosis, which led to an emotional unbalance). Relatives and friends say that it is possible to see him monitoring himself every single day in order to keep the condition under controlled.

Other cases that can serve as inspiration for people with diabetes

There are some other cases that can serve as inspiration for people with diabetes. People who have been diagnosed with the condition have still managed to overcome their restrictions and follow their dreams. Most of these cases are teenagers looking forward to achieving what Duvall did, regardless of their condition.

One teenager is Andreti Leal Guerra. Andreti was diagnosed at age 3 with diabetes, and with persistence and dedication, he knows full of what goals he can achieve. He says, "When I started playing football, my dream was to be on a professional team. At times, there were people who did not believe in me and put limits on me because I have diabetes. The challenge was to keep going and demonstrate that it is possible to do it, just the way Adam Duvall did it." His testimony is certainly an inspiration for hundreds of young people living with type 1 diabetes and who have to face the ignorance of other children and sometimes adults regarding this condition.

"Many people tell you that you will die if you eat sweets," recalls Andreti of his childhood, highlighting the lack of information and knowledge about diabetes in his country. Today the insulin pump is his main ally in controlling his glucose levels, while still dreaming of becoming a great soccer player.

Another example is a hockey player Micaela Sartori who also dreams of being a professional sportsman. This young Argentine girl uses her insulin pump while practicing hockey. She knows she can play in her games while being 100% focused on each score, because her pump takes care of the rest. "I had the insulin pump two years ago because my doctor told me that I could have more freedom. Now I can eat what anyone would eat, for example, cake. I do not have to inject insulin every day. Everything with the insulin pump is easier. When I play Hockey I put it on, at the end of the games I measure my levels and I'm always good, " Micaela says with joy.

For these teens, their dreams have no bounds and they are not going to let their chronic illness define them.