Can diabetics play football???

My son wants to play football. Is that safe for a diabetic?

There have been several outstanding diabetic football players. No diabetic evil ever befell them because of football. If your son's diabetes is without complications and in good control and his doctor doesn't disapprove, then there is no reason why he shouldn't play.

There are two good reasons why he should. Participation in sports, especially a physically demanding one like football, will encourage him to take superb care of himself and his disease. For a young person, the incentive to keep in shape for football is far more powerful than a general incentive to watch one's health. Once your son has established good habits during his football playing days, there's a fair chance he'll stick with them throughout his life.

He should be allowed to play football for psychological reasons as well. If his diabetes keeps him from playing football, he'll get the idea that because of diabetes he can't do anything. On the other hand, if he plays football, his attitude will more likely be that, despite his diabetes, he can do everything he really wants to. Which attitude would you prefer him to carry through life?

Be sure that he informs the coach and his teammates that he has diabetes and explains to them what they should do in case he has an insulin reaction.

And finally, do your best not to show excessive concern every time he goes out to play, even if you feel it way down inside your own pancreas. If you load him up with fears and negative feelings, you'll wreck his game and maybe cause an accident rather than prevent one. A football player needs a positive attitude above all else and so does a diabetic.

NOTE: One case in which we feel you're justified in forbidding your son to play football is if your family doesn't believe in the violence of the sport and none of the children is allowed to play it. In that case it would be wrong to bend over backward and let your diabetic son do something you don't let the others do.

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