Chicago Bears quarterback Jay Cutler is producing a series of videos (as well as running a fundraising effort) about his life with Type 1 diabetes, The New York Times reports. He’s not the first athlete to go public about living with the disease — as NYT writer Tara Parker-Pope points out, we’ve also got Gary Hall Jr., the three-time Olympic swimmer, as well as Team Type 1, a team of Type 1 cyclists that raced across the country this summer in record time. (As someone who has participated in a cross-country bicycle trip, I find their achievement particularly amazing — they did it in 5 days; my group took 64. But then again, we also stopped at a lot of Dairy Queens.)
But I say, bring it on! I’m thrilled whenever I see someone high profile speak about their diabetes — especially when they’re an athlete. It just proves that no matter how much of a pain in the ass diabetes is, it doesn’t have to prevent you from being active. In fact, exercising can make control much easier — when you bike 60-100 miles a day, as I did that summer, you can eat an awful lot more DQ Blizzards than would ever otherwise be possible, with no real adverse effects on your blood sugar. (Seriously, try it — a post-exercise meal of guilt-free carbohydrates feels amazing.) And, of course, you don’t need to do a century ride to experience the difference activity makes. Any kind of exercise is good.
Back to Jay Cutler (who was diagnosed at 24 and kept it secret for a while), right now there are only three videos up, but more are coming soon. Here’s the first; you can see the other two (and eventually the rest) at Touchdowns for Diabetes.