Back to Kids' Voices Itai and Asaf

Photo For approximately 20 hours each week, 15 year old, Itai and 11 year old, Asaf can be found twisting and turning at the Livingston Gymnastics Academy, in Livingston, New Jersey. This dynamic twosome had to learn how to balance much more than their bodies alone. Both boys have Type 1 Diabetes. Their life is one BIG balancing act - school work, gymnastic workouts and intense physical training - as well as managing their diabetes....

Itai was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes at the age of 15 months. His younger brother, Asaf was 6 years old when his diabetes was detected. But, diabetes has not slowed them down or stopped them from participating in the sport they both love. These two young men continue to reach success in all they do. For the past 6 years, both boys have been attending and competing with the Livingston Gymnastics Academy.

These vibrant teenagers compete in 10 to 12 Gymnastic Competitions each year. Both boys are involved in the Junior Olympic Program. By qualifying in New Jersey, they will participate in the Junior Olympic Gymnastics Program for the Region. Each boy is committed to excellence in gymnastics. Itai presently competes as a Level 4 Gymnast and ranks 8th in the state of New Jersey. He ranks also include: 4th on Floor and Rings. Itai has qualified to compete in the Regional Championship at Temple University in Philadelphia. Last summer he had fractured in his ankle. He did not miss any gymnastic practices. His perseverance and hard work ethic have helped him succeed. Little brother Asaf, is presently the Level 5, All-Around New Jersey State Champion. He achieved this success on March 16 in Kenilworth, NJ. His all around score of 52.4 out of a possible 60.0 gave him first place against all the other gymnasts throughout the state and qualified him for the Regional Championships in April. In addition to the All Around Gold Medal, Asaf achieved the following Gold Medals: Vault, Rings, High Bar and a Bronze Medal on Floor.

Itai wears a 508 MiniMed Insulin Pump. When he is training and competing, he disconnects his pump. He constantly needs to check his blood sugar and make the necessary adjustments and corrections to insure his well-being. Practices can be long and hard. Some days he is in the gym for 4 hours, practicing his skills and routines. Learning to make these adjustments during training is good practice for competitions. A local or regional competition can last up to 6 hours. Asaf used to use an Insulin Pump, but due to severe blood sugar fluctuations while disconnected, he decided to return to shots. During Competitions, Asaf must perform 4 to 7 blood tests. Due to his heightened level of activity, it is sometimes necessary to make 1 to 3 injection corrections.

Every successful athlete requires an enormous amount of support. These young men find their encouragement from several individuals. Their parents proudly boast of the boys' accomplishments. Their mother Nurit shares her feeling, "Most gymnasts concentrate on performance. My sons must concern themselves with their health first. They both understand that their performance is based upon controlling their diabetes. I am proud of their willingness to succeed. They are very special young men." Support also comes in their coach, Jim Logan. This spectacular individual has learned to detect Asaf's high and low blood sugar levels. He has gone that extra step to learn how to care for a child with diabetes. He is the true definition of a professional.

Both boys are Honor Roll Students; Asaf at the Mt. Pleasant Middle School and Itai at Livingston High School. In addition to Gymnastics, Itai also plays the piano and the trombone; and Asaf the piano and the oboe. When they find a free moment, they involve themselves in searching for a cure for Diabetes.

You can reach Itai and Asaf through their mother, Nurit, at nuritg[@]

Published April 6, 2003

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Last Updated: Sunday December 05, 2004 11:17:04
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