DUNCAN Young doesn’t see his life as any different from any other keen sportsman, and it isn’t until he takes his shirt off in the dressing sheds at rugby his teammates become conscious of the fact he is a diabetic.
Mr Young, 23, was diagnosed with juvenile type 1 diabetes at the age of 11 after classic symptoms of a raging thirst and weight loss.
“I just couldn’t drink enough - I reckon I was drinking about 10 litres a day,” he said.
After a few years trying to manage his condition with medication, a decision was made to put him on an insulin pump at the age of 17 and it has made his management of his diabetes so much easier.
Now he doesn’t skip a beat when he turns up for training several nights a week after a day on the job as an electrician, finishing off the week with his club games of rugby with Orange City and league with the Cargo Blue Heelers Woodbridge Cup team.
“I can go without it for a couple of hours so I just take it off for the game,” Mr Young said.
Monitoring his insulin levels too, he says, has become simpler in the last few years.
As well as his insulin pump, which is attached through a cord to his stomach, Mr Young always has nearby his insulin level testing device, which is now the size of a mobile phone.
“It’s so much smaller and easier to use than the other models,” he said.
“You don’t have to use the test strips and when you prick your finger and put it on the screening the reading is almost instantaneous.”
The two devices, he says, allow him to follow the same lifestyle as his mates.
“You used to have to count carbs and work out how much you had eaten - but now I can eat virtually what I want because of the way it’s all monitored,” he said.
Mr Young says he’s begun to take notice of the number of elite sportspeople who are managing diabetes.
“You don’t realise there really are a lot of sportsmen out there who have it, so I would say to anyone don’t think a diagnosis is going to hold you back,” he said.
Orange Health Service is encouraging people to book an appointment to have a check-up for diabetes with their general practitioner during National Diabetes Week this week.