BARRIERS TO PARTICIPATING IN FOOTBALL WITH TYPE 1 DIABETES

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FEATURE / CHRIS BRIGHT

With any new medical diagnosis, you may expect your life to change and have adaptations made to your way of living. Living with a chronic illness like type 1 diabetes is all of those things and none of those things all at the same time. Yes, life changes, but we all live with a routine, a way of doing things which impact on the choices we make, things we enjoy doing and the barriers we place in front of ourselves. This is a condition which demands a significant lifestyle change to participate in a sport like football. BUT it is possible and is evidenced through numerous examples within the professional game.

Gary Mabbutt was the first high profile player in England to demonstrate that it was possible to still succeed in the game despite living with type 1 diabetes. Gary was diagnosed whilst playing for Bristol Rovers and then went on to play for Tottenham Hotspur as well as England. In doing so, he became cult hero not just for those clubs he played for but also those who lived with type 1 diabetes. However, despite Gary achieving so much in the 90’s, there’s not been a type 1 diabetic football player to reach those heights in the last 20 years here in the UK.