Q: Our son’s junior varsity baseball team will travel at least once a week this spring to schools up to two hours away. How can we make traveling to these away games work with type 1 diabetes?

A: At this age, since your child may be fairly independent in his diabetes management routines, the key to navigating situations like away games and long bus rides tends to be good communication.

If your son has a cell phone, an easy way to stay in touch is to have him text you his numbers every time he checks his blood sugar on the road. You can text back any needed feedback. Communicating with your son’s coaches (and any other adults who will be riding on the bus) is also important. Ideally before the season starts, talk to them about your child’s needs and the signs of low blood sugar, and make sure the adults present on the bus will have easy access to low blood sugar supplies for your son. Supplies can be placed in a kit that rides along with the team on the bus.

Also be sure to stay in communication with your child’s diabetes care team about the upcoming sports season. The exertion of playing a sport and the long bus rides to and from the field may mean adjusting his insulin doses on game days. Your diabetes care provider can give you the specifics on what might be best and safest for your child. As the baseball season progresses and you see how your son responds to different dosage amounts, further adjustments in management strategies may be needed.

Something else to keep in mind: We’ve all heard stories—or maybe experienced ourselves— situations in which two-hour bus rides suddenly became much longer due to weather or traffic, a bus breakdown, or other unforeseen circumstances. In thinking about what your son needs with him on the bus, it doesn’t hurt to follow the old adage, “hope for the best, but prepare for the worst.” Items to pack include his diabetes management supplies, extra snacks and drinks, and his own stash of low blood sugar supplies. In case of an emergency or accident, it’s also a good idea to make sure he wears a medical I.D. bracelet while on the bus. It may seem like a lot, but feeling prepared for anything that might come his way means your son can concentrate on what he’s there for—playing ball.

Shirley Goodman—Shirley Goodman, R.N., C.D.E., is a staff diabetes educator in the pediatric endocrinology department at the Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago.

How Other Parents Deal
“Our daughter has a very long bus ride to and from school this year. We’ve found that having her eat a snack right before the end of school is the best way to keep her numbers still within range by the time she gets home. She also has some extra snacks and juice tucked in her backpack just in case.”
—Chelsea C., Saginaw, Mich., mom of 7-year-old Arienne

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People in the Know: Out-of-Range at Tryouts
People in the Know: Practices Versus Games
In the Spotlight: Sports and Type 1 Diabetes

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Disclaimer: The information in these articles is not intended as medical advice. Families should check with their healthcare professionals regarding individual care.