T1D + ATVs

WRITTEN BY: Trevor Thatcher

My name is Trevor Thatcher. I am 13 years old, and I have Type 1 diabetes. I started racing ATVs when I was four, and from the first time I left the gate, I was hooked … it was all I wanted to do! Four months later, on September 10, 2007, one month after my fifth birthday, I started feeling really bad. I remember being really cranky and very thirsty all the time. My mom started to get worried because I was looking very thin and was constantly using the restroom so she took me to the doctor. The doctor checked my blood sugar with a finger poke (the meter read “High”) and took my mom into another room. My mom rushed me to the hospital, where they admitted me. I had multiple IVs hooked up to me. There were a bunch of doctors and nurses in my room, and everybody seemed to be in a panic. I don’t really remember a whole lot after I was admitted to the hospital, but my mom tells everybody that she and my dad were devastated because they thought they would have to tell me I couldn’t race anymore. She said that once everything seemed to calm down a little, I looked at my dad, and said, “How am I going to race with these ‘things’ hanging out of my arms?!” She said that I thought the tubes from the IVs were permanent and that I was totally okay with it, as long as I could still race. 

My parents talked to my doctor and he said that I would still be able to race! I was released from the hospital on Wednesday, and I was back at the track on Friday.


I raced every Friday, Saturday, and Sunday — and I won every race the rest of the season!

In May 2008, my parents let me start racing Nationals. My first year racing Nationals, I won the 50cc Semi Stock National Championship. Since then, I have won four National Championships, over 20 local and regional championships, and hundreds of races. I’ve been voted Rookie of the Year and won the Rising Star Award; I’ve had my picture on national event t-shirts and trophy plaques; I’ve been featured in magazines and in multiple local newspapers; I’ve trained with pro racers and I’ve trained younger racers. I race against some of the fastest kids in the nation, and I have to put in a lot of work to stay competitive.

Trevor4Between March and October, I train on the track a few times a week and race nearly every weekend. It’s a little more difficult to get any riding done in the winter because I live in Northwest Ohio and winters can be brutal. Between November and February, I train off the track with a workout routine and travel down south a few times to train on the track. Everything that I have accomplished, I’ve done while having T1D. I used to have to check my blood sugar before I went out on the track, every time. Now I have a Dexcom CGM, so it’s a little easier. If my blood sugar isn’t in a safe range, I have to sit out a race. In eight years, and hundreds of races, I’ve only had to sit one out.   

I am currently racing the Mountain Dew ATV MX National Championship Series. This season, I had to bump up to older classes because of my age, so I raced against 16-year-olds. I finished in 3rd (Supermini), 4th (90 Shifter Sr) & 5th (90 Open Sr). Next year, I plan on turning all of those into first place finishes! I am usually on the track for about 15 minutes at a time, so my blood sugar doesn’t fluctuate a whole lot during a race, but usually hours after, as my adrenaline comes down, so does my blood sugar. Most race days, my mom is up all night making sure my blood sugar doesn’t drop too low. I am very lucky to have such a great family and support system — even my little brother makes sure that I’m ok when my CGM alarm goes off. I know my family sacrifices a lot for me to be able to do what I love and I am so grateful for that.  

If you’d like to watch some videos of me racing or just keep up with me, you can check out my websiteI refuse to let T1D hold me down!

Read Horseback Riding in Poland with T1D by Lisa Chrzanowski.

Trevor Thatcher

Trevor is 13 years old and was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes in September 2007, a month after his fifth birthday. He started racing ATVs when he was four, and didn’t let his diagnosis slow him down! In May 2008 he started racing in Nationals and won the 50cc Semi Stock National Championship. Since then, Trevor has won four National and over 20 local and regional championships. He continues to race and not let T1D beat him!