Golf and My Type 1 Diabetes

1/13/16
WRITTEN BY: Jonah Marks
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When I go out to golf, I am with my dad, my brother, and maybe someone else that joins us. Diabetes doesn’t stop me from having fun and hanging out with my family and friends. These are my diabetes management tips —

1 – When my blood sugar is high, I can have a hard time concentrating. Sometimes it’s hard to pick clubs and focus on hitting the ball. When this happens, I take insulin and I try to remind myself to be “bigger than my number”.  I can usually improve my focus and keep playing. Often, just the activity of playing golf will help my number go down fast.

When my blood sugar is low, I can feel weak and unfocused. It can affect my game too. When this happens, I keep a bottle of Gatorade with me and drink a little at each hole to keep my number up. When my number is low for a very long time and it’s not going up, sometimes I have to just stop playing. I try not to let that happen.

2 – When I play in a tournament, I don’t think that my blood sugar is affected by nerves or excitement. I do get nervous, but I don’t think that it causes problems with my diabetes.

3 – I walk the golf course and I also sometimes ride a cart. When I know that I am going to be walking 9 or 18 holes, I eat a good size meal to give me enough energy, but I dose a little less insulin to keep me from going too low. When I ride in a cart, I still may dose a little less insulin because I am still really active even if I am not carrying my clubs. I usually take snacks like granola bars to keep up my energy and make sure I don’t go too low.

4 – I started playing golf when I was six years old. My dad has played golf since high school and he introduced me to the game. I felt like this was the one sport that I could play and be happy about. I felt like I was very good at it. Now, I play with my brother and my dad.

5 – One day at Braemar Country Club, which is where we play, my brother and I had just finished playing nine holes and it was almost lunch time. We went to the snack stand to get lunch and when I went to test my blood sugar, I saw that my testing kit and my phone were not with me! I remembered having low blood sugar during my game and I left my kit bag on a bench. When my blood sugar is low, I can be forgetful. So there I was at the snack stand and I was freaking out that I didn’t have my phone and supplies. Then a really nice guy who happened to have diabetes, who I didn’t realize was Nick Jonas, asked if I needed help and if I needed to use his testing kit. I thought that was so nice. I thanked him and went with my brother to the golf shop to try to find my kit. My brother told me that the nice guy who helped me was Nick Jonas! That was a really cool thing to happen.

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When I am playing golf, either in a golf cart or walking, my blood sugar can go low very fast and very easily. This is how I manage my blood sugar —

Checking my CGM at every hole

  • Checking my CGM will tell me an estimate of my number and will show if it is going down or not. If I am, I will prick my finger to check my BG.

Checking my blood sugar. I will check if:

  • I feel low
  • My CGM says I’m going low
  • My CGM says I’m going high
  • Testing once in a while just as a precaution

Insulin … Sugar … Golf!

  • You ALWAYS need sugar and insulin with you. My tip is bring some juice (any kind) or regular Gatorade, and if you are going low, you take a sip every hole until your number goes higher.

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Jonah Marks

Jonah Marks is almost 12 years old. He lives in Tarzana, California with his parents and older brother. He was diagnosed with Type 1 in 2010, at 6 years old. Jonah loves to play golf. He also plays the piano, enjoys video games and is very artistic. 1He is a sixth grader at Portola Middle School, has straight A’s and is on the honor roll.