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August 25, 2001

Exercise and Sports, Insulin Pumps

Question from Rawlins, Wyoming, USA:

My daughter, who has had type 1 diabetes for four years and wears an insulin pump, is very active in sports, volleyball to be specific, and I was told she has to have a doctor's note that states she should be allowed to wear her pump during games and tournaments. They consider it to be comparable to a brace or hard plastic appliance that otherwise would not be allowed. She will be in her freshman year in high school activities this fall and, up until now, it has not been an issue.

Answer:

A doctor’s note is a reasonable request to assure your daughter’s ability to wear her insulin pump during games and tournaments. Her physician/diabetes team are no doubt familiar with that request and should find it easy to provide.

If your daughter prefers not to wear her pump during competition, her diabetes team can assist in providing a plan to manage off the pump — either by reconnecting periodically to replace missed basal rates, or by covering with shots for time off the pump. The effects of exercise will of course need to be considered in this plan.

Wearing an insulin pump gives your daughter lots of flexibility and many options in this regard. Here’s wishing her a great freshman year in both academics and sports!

DMW