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June 30, 2000

Exercise and Sports, Social Issues: School and Daycare

Question from :

From Virginia, USA My niece is 16 years old and has had type 1 diabetes for 10 years. She maintains good control, but does occasionally experience, but not immediately recognize, "lows." Our question concerns "alerting" outsiders to her diabetic condition. She is active in sports, all of which will not allow her to wear jewelry during camps, practices, tryouts, or games. This is causing a huge problem because she is unable to wear MedicAlert necklace, bracelet, etc., during the times when "alert" is needed most. When the jewelry is removed for the above activities, it is usually misplaced (once even stolen). We have gone so far as to discuss, although fleetingly, a "MedicAlert" tattoo on her ankle (or somewhere on her body that would be seen by paramedics/doctors/caregivers). She is of the age when she will soon be driving, soon be out on her own much more, and we want to ensure that her diabetic condition be known if she has any problems. Any suggestions as to what she could use that could stay on her person continually, even during the sports activities?


It is important for your niece to wear medical ID jewelry or carry a medical information card. This gives others the information necessary to help when a bout of hypoglycemia occurs. Information cards, pendants, bracelets and tags all have the necessary information printed right on them.

It is equally important for your niece’s counselors, coaches, even physical education teachers, to be informed about her diabetes. An emergency plan for hypoglycemia needs to be put into place to ensure her safety and well being.

Additional comments from Dr. Bill Quick:

Also, see Actions for Coaches and Physical Education Teachers.