Living My Dream as a College Athlete

WRITTEN BY: Codey Conway

I have been playing baseball for sixteen years now. I started playing way before being diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes, and have continued to play baseball still today as a Type 1 diabetic on an insulin pump. As many sports fans know, baseball is a game of failure. Meaning that if you hit the ball three out of every ten at bats you are on pace to be in the Hall of Fame. Very few sports you can say doing anything three out of every ten tries can be considered successful. My goal since I was young was to be able to play baseball in college. Little did I know that an even harder task to maintain was to be a college athlete while also being a type 1 diabetic. Here is a little look into the daily life of a diabetic college athlete, and how I live beyond my disease to continue to live out my dream of being a college athlete.

Baseball is a year round sport; despite our actual games only take place from early February through May. From August until December is where we work to prepare for games. This means going from six in the morning, and ending around five at night almost every day of the week. That schedule sounds, and is, very long for anyone. Add in managing blood sugar levels, making sure to properly manage a well-balanced diet, carrying around a number of infusion sets, and trying to keep up with people who do not face the slightest odds that I face well it can be a little frustrating. As with every diabetic out there, maintaining stability with glucose levels is essential for living close to normal as possible. This can be a very difficult task to maintain with such a hectic schedule, which is why time management and knowing your body is such a crucial part in the process.

CodeyConwayPhoto22-600x600The first thing I do every season is let all of my teammates know that I am a Type 1 diabetic. This helps to let them know that if anything is going on to get help immediately. Having teammates to rely on is a lot like having parents to rely on at home, it is a comforting feeling knowing that I am not in this process alone.

Often I hear around campus, “Why does that dude still wear a beeper,” or “That’s cute still drinking a juice box in college.” I quickly learned part of being a diabetic is you have to have thick skin, because some people do not understand the struggles most Type 1 diabetics go through just to wake up the next morning. It is very easy to get sidetracked in college, but diabetes has always been there to keep me on top of my grades as well as my performance in baseball.

I will not lie; sometimes diabetes gets the best of me. I have been pulled from games because of my health, but have bounced back the next outing and done great! The key, I believe, with diabetes is to not let one bad outing with your health effect anything you do. It is easy to say I can’t do that because of my health, but in the big picture diabetes is just an obstacle that so many have dealt with and overcome to have successful and happy lives.

I have two more years of college baseball, and know that I will have my highs and lows (literally) from diabetes. Even though baseball and school are time consuming, the most important thing is to make sure my health is somewhat normal in order to function properly. It is not an easy task being an athlete in college, but it is definitely one that can be attained through perseverance and remaining positive. I have learned to never limit myself because of diabetes, because diabetes has made me mature and responsible. Whether it’s a bad blood sugar or a bad outing, I always keep my chin up because I know how blessed I am to be playing the sport I love while pursuing a prestigious education all with managing Type 1 diabetes.

Read more stories by college students living with Type 1 here

Codey Conway

Codey has been a Type 1 diabetic for over ten years, after being diagnosed at age 11. T1D has taught him responsibility and to not take any day for granted. Some days are more of a struggle than others, but being able to conquer diabetes related challenges is a part of the process. It is easy to dwell on diabetes, but the most comforting feeling to Codey is knowing that so many others are facing the same challenges as he is and overcoming their daily battles too. Codey is currently in his junior year studying Criminal Justice at Thomas University where he plays baseball while maintaining a 3.9 GPA. His goal is to help reach out to younger Type 1 diabetics and let them know that no task is impossible to conquer as a diabetic.