From Hudson, Massachusetts, USA:
My 16 year old son has type 1, controlled with the insulin pump. He wears a Medic Alert Bracelet, however Massachusetts Interscholastic Athletic Association (MIAA) rules state this is not allowed during athletic competitions or must be taped, which defeats the purpose. My son runs cross country and track and I believe it is unsafe for him to not have his identification bracelet on during his competitions. The cross country courses are frequently in wooded areas, presenting the possibility of a medical emergency far removed from coaches or family.
I am currently petitioning the MIAA and National Federation of State High School Associations to amend the rules regarding medic alert medals, to allow them during athletic competitions (like running) where risk of the bracelets harming another competitor is less than the risk to the diabetic athlete not wearing them. Has anyone else ever tried to amend this rule? Can you provide any supporting data to help define the relative risks? Do you have any other recommendations?
Why can't he tape it with a transparent tape so the Medic Alert symbol is clearly visible? I don't know why they consider a Medic Alert bracelet unsafe, but I suggest you ask them. If there is a good reason, then I think you should just tape the bracelet with transparent tape, or cut a hole in any tape so the medic alert symbol is clearly visible. Even if there is no good reason, sometimes it doesn't pay to "fight city hall" if you can just tape the bracelet so the symbol can be seen. Of course, he should be allowed to compete without jeopardizing his safety. If you can't tape the bracelet so the symbol can be clearly seen, I suggest you ask them how they recommend he compete safely wearing diabetes identification.
If there is a way you can work within the associations guidelines without jeopardizing his safety, I suggest you try to do this and avoid a confrontation with the association. If you feel your son's safety is at jeopardy, then you need to know why they feel the bracelet is unsafe so you can either disagree with them if you feel their argument isn't valid, or come up with a solution you feel is safe.
Please let us know what the association says about why they feel it is unsafe to wear a Medic Alert bracelet during running competitions.
Additional comments from Debbie Butler, MSW, LICSW, Licensed Clinical Social Worker:You may want to call the American Diabetes Association (ADA) about this issue, because they have an advocacy department. So, I would suggest that you call the ADA at 1-800-DIABETES and ask to speak to someone in the advocacy division.
Original posting 14 Mar 2006
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