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July 30, 2006

Exercise and Sports, Insulin Pumps

Question from Raleigh, North Carolina, USA:

My son is a quarterback on the high school football team. He has been using a pump for one week now and will start practicing on Monday. Where do most football players place the pump on their bodies? Should it be tucked up under rib pads or in the middle of the back? I would like to keep the pump and my son as safe as possible. Any suggestions would be helpful.

Answer:

Contact sports such as football, soccer, field hockey or basketball can create challenges that other sports do not when it comes to wearing the pump during these sports. If one chooses to wear the pump during these activities, it is advisable to protect the pump, if possible. Consider using a protective padding similar to the type used when protecting a bruise on the thigh. A pad about 1/4 inch thick is cut a little bigger (about two inches) than the bruise on the thigh. Cutting a hole in the middle of the padding to the size of the bruise then placing over the bruise for protection. Cut a second pad equal to the first but no hole is cut in the middle. Place the first pad (the one with the hole cut out) over the bruise. Place the second pad over the first pad and secure it with an ace bandage or hold in place with compression shorts. If the athlete is hit on the bruise, the upper pad disperses the force. When making the pad, the only difference would be to cut the hole out of the first pad to the size of the insulin pump. If there are pads to protect knees and elbows, there are pads to protect insulin pumps.

Some athletes will wear the pump with the padding just below the belt while others may wear it on the inside of the thigh. Wearing the protective padding with the pump in it is up to the individual.

RP

[Editor’s comment: You may also wish to try The Un-tethered Regimen during football season. Your son could take a shot of Lantus, usually in the evening, and re-connect his pump or do injections for meals. This would ensure the safety of the pump and help your son maintain target blood sugars.

BH]