Sporting Events with T1D
We all have a favorite sport, and perhaps we even have a particular sports team (or two) that we consider ourselves to be diehard fans of. No matter what season it may be, (baseball, football, basketball, soccer, tennis, or any other sport that strikes your fancy)—attending a sporting event is always a fun-filled day for family and friends.
Similar to attending a concert or another event at a large indoor or outdoor venue, there are many things to consider when planning to attend a live sports game and have type 1 diabetes.
Remember your supplies
Many sports games can last several hours, especially if it goes into overtime or extra innings, etc! Be sure to pack more supplies than you think you may need, such as:
- Pump supplies (insulin, infusion sets, syringes)
- Backup syringes/needles
- An extra blood glucose (BG) meter
- Test strips
- Continuous glucose monitor (CGM) sensors
- Adhesive tape or spray
- Alcohol wipes / sanitizer
- Insulin pens (if you are on multiple daily injections, OR in case of a pump malfunction!)
- Backup insulin
- Sugary snacks
- High protein snacks
- Emergency Glucagon
- Freezer packs (to keep insulin cool)
Locate the medical line
Some (NOT all) sports venues have an entirely separate screening line for people with medical conditions. This will expedite your entry and avoid any confusion with your supplies. If there is not a separate line, immediately inform the security guards that you are a person with diabetes and what supplies you’re carrying.
Locate the medical office
All sports venues will have a Medical/First Aid office. Take note of where it is ASAP.
If it is a very hot day, you should consider having them store your insulin for you!
Tell your friends
It always helps to have a buddy or family member with you that is familiar with your type 1 diabetes (T1D), but if you’re enjoying the game with a new acquaintance or meet new friends, give them a heads up for what to do in case of emergency. Do not hesitate to let others know that you are a person with type 1 diabetes.
Wear your medical alert gear
Bring a medical alert bracelet and/or ID tag and keep them on you at all times so that you can be properly identified and treated in a worst-case-scenario.
Effects of Heat
Many sporting events (and all Spring Training baseball games) will be in the heat! Severe temperatures can affect blood sugar levels, so keep an eye on your CGM, and/or test your blood sugar more often than you usually would. If this means breaking away from the crowd at times, so be it.
Insulin should be kept out of extreme heat, so be prepared with a freezer pack or cooling wallet if you choose not to store it at the medical office.
Be conscious of your CGM and pump sites! Sweating can occasionally make the adhesive on your sensors and sites less effective. Be ready with your extra supplies, apply adhesive tape or opt for multiple daily injections (MDI).
Food & Drink
Hydrate as much as possible at sporting events. Be sure to drink water to avoid dehydration if in the heat.
Eat a good meal either before the game or during! You can always find an abundance of high carb, sugary food options at sports games in case of a low blood sugar, but nearly all sports venues allow you to bring in your own food if you want to bring some protein and/or healthier meal options.
Bring your own sugary snacks or juice in case of hypoglycemia if you prefer not to buy something at the venue.
Some T1Ds experience high blood sugar levels when adrenaline is released. Sporting events can get very exciting—so don’t be surprised if you get that random blood sugar spike! Hormones can make the body more resistant to insulin, so be sure to check your BG as needed and adjust your dosages as advised by your doctor.
Have a blast—and we hope your team wins!!