From West Virginia, USA:
My son does not wear his pump for football games, so his blood sugar goes too high and, often, he has to sit out. He is a starter on the high school team, but since the pump he has played very little because of his high sugar. Is there any way he can wear the pump, or can you give any suggestions to keep the sugar down?
Talk to your son's diabetes management team about your individual options, because there are certainly a number of things you can do to remedy this situation. Being off the insulin pump for an hour or more requires replacement of missed basal insulin. If he can keep the pump within easy access on the sidelines your son can re-connect, replace the missed basal insulin via a bolus hourly, and disconnect again. If this proves difficult to do, he may wish to take the pump off prior to the game, bolus prior to disconnect, and/or cover basal insulin requirements via injection.
He can then reconnect after the game and make bolus and basal rate adjustments according to blood sugars. This will require frequent blood sugar monitoring and decision making based on those results, but if your son is motivated to do so, there is no reason why he can't successfully accomplish this. Also, be aware that sports such as football involving high intensity, stop-start kind of activity often require more insulin rather than less. Your son may benefit from a higher basal rate post game, to keep blood sugar well controlled. Again, frequent monitoring and patterning will tell you this.
Pumping should give your son more flexibility, better control, and not keep him from playing the sport he loves. Talk to your diabetes team about helping you make these adjustments, and let us know how it goes.
[Editor's comment: I know several people who wear the pump while playing sports. In a contact sport, such as football, they use the upper hip for the infusion set and keep the pump under a pad for added protection. You might want to contact the International Diabetic Athletes Association for more ideas about insulin pumps and sports. SS]
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