Meet Dakota Egert. He’s in fifth grade. He plays football, basketball and soccer. He likes to hang out with friends on the weekend. He likes to ride his bike and scooter outside. He was also diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes in August of 2014. School, sports, diabetes… how does he deal with it all?
How’s the school year going, Dakota?
Actually, really great! Fifth grade is funner. We get to switch rooms and there’s a lot more history than all the other grades. We get to do more science and a lot more reading.
The football season just ended and the basketball season is underway. Do your teammates know that you have diabetes?
Yes, because they’re my friends and I’ve been to their sleepovers before and they’ve seen me check my blood sugar and give myself shots.
How do you deal with a low blood sugar while playing sports?
My coaches already know that I have diabetes so I just ask if I could go take a break. I tell them if my blood sugar is low. And then I go over to wherever my stuff is and I check my blood sugar and eat. I keep juice and fruit snacks and granola bars in my bag.
Do you notice a difference in how you play depending on your blood sugar?
Yes. When my blood sugar is low I usually don’t play as well. When I’m high I kind of feel lousy. I kind of feel like slow and want to go lay down.
When you were first diagnosed, did you parents come into school to talk about diabetes to your teachers or classmates?
Yeah, my mom came in and talked to my teachers.
How does lunch work? Do you go to the nurse to check your blood sugar?
Yeah I go to the nurse to test before lunch. Sometimes the nurses don’t know better than I do and I go lower. Then I have to go back and eat something. One of the nurses has diabetes.
Do you bring your own lunch or count your own carbs for the school lunch?
Both, depends on what’s for lunch. For school lunch, they have nutritional information at the nurse for it. My favorite school lunch is a hamburger.
What piece of advice would you give a fifth grader that was newly diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes and dealing with school and sports?
I would just tell them it doesn’t matter whatever you’re doing in the classroom and you should tell the people that you usually sit with why you have to do something. If you take shots, then they usually think you are super brave and they get freaked out and they let you do your thing. In sports, you should tell your coach and your teammates so they know.
Thanks for chatting with us Dakota! Good luck with the basketball season!
-Lauren Evans, YPLC Marketing Chair