January 1, 2014

NASCAR Drives to Stop Diabetes


driveRyan Reed, NASCAR driver, is showing-off the American Diabetes Association Drive to Stop Diabetes campaign with sponsorship from Eli Lilly. Two years ago, this may have been the last thing on Ryan’s mind when he was diagnosed with T1D.   

The desire for a racing career began when he was 4 years old. His career with diabetes began with the usual symptoms of weight loss, thirst, and going to be bathroom too often. Despite the bump in the road, Ryan has reinstated the winning spirit, courtesy of the American Diabetes Association Drive to Stop Diabetes and Eli Lilly.

Thanks to the brilliant search results of Google, Ryan had a virtual sneaking suspicion it was T1D, thanks to all his search results. As many of us do at some point with diabetes, Ryan almost didn’t believe it. Thanks to his dad, Ryan ended-up in the doctor’s office for an official diagnosis.

Although the doctor did tell Ryan it was T1D, he was wrong about Ryan’s career in driving. The honorable doctor told Ryan his racing career may be over. With tenacity and conviction, Ryan was ready and willing to do everything in his power to rise to the challenges and race again.

Remember Charlie Kimball? This young man is an IndyCar driver who also has T1D. Ryan Reed’s diagnosing doctor wasn’t quite as up-to-speed as Charlie Kimball’s doc, and therefor Ryan is now treated by the same doctor. Now  both of these professional drivers evaluate, implement, and succeed in their challenges.

It’s pretty amazing how Ryan has been able to continually monitor his glucose throughout the races, with a device mounted on the dashboard, displaying his glucose. In addition, Ryan’s crew members are trained to give him an insulin injection. That hasn’t happened, yet.

Furthermore safety check, Ryan says his blood sugar starts at 120 and ends around 200 during a race. Around town, 30 mph is my speed and I prefer my glucose to hover in that region. In fact, it’s suggested that drivers with T1D take caution when bG drops below 100 mg/dL. Who has time for those worries? Not NASCAR!

“There is always a chance of something happening and that is why we have the safety nets,” Reed said. “We’d be doing the whole diabetes community a disservice to go out there and have a problem inside the racecar. We take it very seriously.”

Ryan, you’re the man! Thanks for bringing attention to a huge audience. The NASCAR motto rings true when it comes to diabetes and driving. Everything else is just a game.

Visit Your Diabetes Health for more resources about health.