Home Type 1 Chiefs’ Noah Gray achieves NFL dream while managing Type 1 diabetes

Chiefs’ Noah Gray achieves NFL dream while managing Type 1 diabetes

by Kevin Patra
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Gray said that for the first four to five years after his diagnosis, he used manual injections and finger sticks to administer his medication and monitor his condition. Thanks to his technological developments, he now wears his Dexcom device, which constantly monitors his blood sugar levels, and a pump to administer insulin. This combination has made life easier to manage, especially as a professional athlete.

“My blood sugar levels have improved 10 times since I got (the pump),” he said. “It’s like a continuous infusion, and it’s really helpful because it always corrects your blood sugar levels when they get high or low.”

During the match, Gray unhooks the pump in his abdomen, which allows him to use the Dexcom to constantly monitor his blood sugar levels without fear of breaking it. If he needs confirmation, the monitor sends a signal to the device (not a mobile phone, as its use during matches is prohibited).

The 24-year-old said he can usually feel when he gets too high or too low at the moment.

“For me, when I go low, I get a feel for it, and when I go high, I get really lethargic, so I’m going to check myself when I come to the locker room,” he said. “Sometimes I don’t check it at all because I just kind of feel it. If I really start to feel it, then I’ll check it and make sure I go eat or connect my tandem pump.” I do it by feel, but some diabetics don’t even feel their blood sugar levels are dropping until it’s too late. I don’t realize that I’m in it. It affects everyone differently. It’s a condition specific to diabetes, especially type 1 diabetes. But that’s how I manage it through my game.”

Gray said he has been fortunate to never have an accident during a game and believes his pregame routine, which includes eating three and a half hours before a game, helps him stay on track. Told.

“I try to eat at the exact time before the game and eat about the same time,” he said. “Usually I have steak and rice before the game. Or if the game is really early, I’m just eating breakfast food. So I love fruit, I eat eggs, and I also eat toast. “I’ll eat a piece or two of toast because I love it so much. But I try to make it exactly the same every game because it makes it more predictable.”

The Super Bowl kicks off at 3:30 p.m. local time, so Gray will likely have his pregame meal at noon Sunday.

The third-year pro said being an athlete has helped him manage his illness.

“Yeah, quite a bit, because when you’re not exercising, it’s much harder to control your blood sugar levels,” he said. “Being healthier and more active is very beneficial for maintaining blood sugar levels. So when you go on vacation for a month after the season, you take almost twice as much insulin as you would take while in the hospital.” – Because you’re not working out or exercising during the season. ”

At this point, it’s abundantly clear that type 1 diabetes is not like an ankle or knee injury that an athlete can rehabilitate and overcome. It’s something Gray and others have played throughout their lives. It’s always in my head.

“I don’t think I can stress this enough: It’s as much about managing your time as it is about your job,” Gray said. “It’s a matter of life or death. My ability to play football at a high level depends on my body being in good shape in terms of my blood sugar levels going into the game. It’s very important to work hard at managing it and take it seriously.” “It’s very important.” ”

Gray isn’t the first player to battle Type 1 in the NFL.

Mark Andrews, a tight end for the Baltimore Ravens, is perhaps the most famous type 1 diabetic in the league right now. Gray has never met Andrews, but he said he has group chats with Miami Dolphins long snapper Blake Ferguson and Jaguars linebacker Chad Muma. Both have type 1 diabetes. He said sharing ideas and experiences will help him manage it during games and practices.

Gray is also trying to help others, especially younger people who have to battle this disease throughout their lives.

“I typically work with young children who are diagnosed,” he said. “I wasn’t a kid when I was diagnosed with this disease, but as an 18-year-old it was tough. I’m an adult now, so it was tough. I can’t even imagine what it’s like.” For 5-year-olds who have undergone this, they are in school and have to give themselves injections, test their blood sugar levels…especially trying to help other people with type 1. That’s very important to me, young people, because I know how hard it is for me. I can’t imagine what that’s like for them. ”

On Sunday during Super Bowl LVIII, Gray will inspire all young people living with Type 1 that no matter the literal ups and downs, you can pursue your dreams to the heights that lift Lombardi. Sho.

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