Type 1 Diabetes: Michael's Story

Being a premier heavyweight wrestling champ in the Pioneer Athletic Conference and throughout District One is just one of Michael’s accomplishments. He's also wrestled with diabetes every day of his life since he was 11 years old.

Michael was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes while in sixth grade. At first, he recalls being scared, nervous and afraid of needles. He remembers his father telling him that he would give him the shots while in the hospital, and then he had to do it himself. Both Michael’s parents have been very instrumental in his care. They do know what it’s like as they both have diabetes themselves and take shots daily.

Michael’s biggest challenge is keeping his blood sugars in check while wrestling. He says he does this by eating a healthy diet and checking blood sugars often. Michael is a real achiever.

“I always wanted to be the best — so I worked hard,” he says. And “work hard” he did ― both on the mat and with his diabetes.

“Michael just doesn’t give up,” his mother says.

Comeback kid

michaelThree years after being diagnosed with diabetes, Michael had a serious shoulder injury while riding a scooter. He was out of wrestling for five months and in physical therapy.

Upon returning to wrestling the next year, Michael lost 26 matches while on the Methacton High School’s wrestling team. Talk about being down in the dumps ... but not Michael. His positive attitude and dedication helped him get back on his feet and back on the mat.

Michael fought back hard. He worked relentlessly in and out of the weight room to add strength and muscle mass. He labored in the practice room to improve and refine his skills. And each and every day, he checked his blood sugars vigorously, six to eight times a day, and injected himself with insulin three times a day.

Michael is a fighter, determined to beat the odds. He went from 125 pounds to now being in the 195-pound weight class. He is the ALL PAC-10 selection and regional qualifier finishing 33-8 with 15 pins this year as a senior at a Methacton High School. He has an impressive record of 72 career pins.

Educating and supporting others 

Along the way, Michael had to educate his coaches about diabetes and has been a role model for a teammate who was recently diagnosed with the disease.

“I tell him to keep his blood sugars in check so he can function well on and off the mat,” Michael says.

“Wrestling helps me prove that even though I have diabetes, I am a normal kid,” he says.

Michael is graduating and going on to college, and he’ll be taking that “you can’t keep me pinned down” attitude with him.

We congratulate Michael on his impressive wrestling accomplishments and encourage him to keep wrestling with diabetes each and every day to stay healthy.

Originally posted: May 2013