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January 31, 2006

Diagnosis and Symptoms

Question from Weymouth, Massachusetts, USA:

My 15 year old daughter is a soccer goalkeeper on two teams, including her high school's team. She has sustained many injuries to her body over the years in this position. Is it possible an injury to her pancreas, not a virus, which is the suspected culprit, caused her type 1 diabetes? This came to mind today when we discovered her classmate was hospitalized in Boston yesterday, also diagnosed with type 1 diabetes. This 15 year old girl is also a soccer goalkeeper. Is this just a coincidence? For the record, my daughter was diagnosed December 14, 2005 at New England Medical Center/Floating Hospital in Boston. She was ill this past fall with a viral infection that her pediatrician believed to be Coxsackie.

Answer:

It is very unlikely that direct pancreatic trauma would cause diabetes that is antibody positive classical autoimmune type 1 diabetes. Severe direct pancreatic injury, of course, would destroy the pancreas but would likely also be associated with internal bleeding, surgery, etc. The pancreas is actually quite deep and well protected in the upper abdominal cavity. I suspect it is only an unusual coincidence that another player of a similar sport has also developed diabetes.

SB