Last week, my daughter's 13-year-old best friend Breanna needed a shot. She's a Type 1 diabetic.
My wife usually gives it, but she was at work. Breanna can give herself shots, but because we were having some really awful fast food, she needed an extra dosage and she didn't think she could handle it.
"Dad," my daughter yelled. "Come save a life."
My daughter was kidding, of course. Breanna hadn't taken a bite yet, so there was no real pressure. I pinched the back of her arm, stuck the needle for four seconds and she said it didn't hurt. I think she was just being nice. Bre's a brave one.
I bring it up because it really is a big deal. Breanna was 12 when she had a blood-sugar attack and was airlifted 30 miles to Children's Hospital in Oakland. It was rather traumatizing for sure. There was no hint she had blood-sugar issues. There were none in her family.
Now before every meal, she has to check the sugar levels and get poked. Not a whole lot of fun. But, then again, it beats the alternative.
It's relevant today because there's a quarterback out of Indianapolis who doesn't just get poked before every meal, but he gets checked after every offensive series.
This terrific story told by Kyle Neddenriep of the Indianapolis Star
shows how highly-touted Ben Davis (Indianapolis)
quarterback Kyle Castner
was diagnosed a diabetic at the ripe age of 7.
Castner told Neddenriep it was frightening at the time — getting poked with a needle several times a day — but he and his family have learned quite comfortably to live with it.
More than 18,000 kids a year are diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes — the story reads — and most live an active normal life.
But few, probably, are quite as active as Castner, who has thrown for more than 4,000 yards in his career for a team No. 21 in the MaxPreps national computer rankings
His team is trying to become the first Ben Davis squad to win a state title in 12 years.
Caastner is also a straight-A student, of whom his coach Mike Kirschner told Neddenriep: "He can throw it, run it and he'll hold every Ben Davis record by the time he's done. He's a first-class person. There may be better quarterbacks, I don't know, but he's a first-class kid."
Castner, a 6-foot-2, 205-pound senior, hopes to gain a college scholarship for no other reason than to set a good example for other kids who have the disease.
There's a pretty good example out there already in the NFL — Bears' quarterback Jay Cutler, who has started his own foundation for kids with diabetes.
Castner told Kirschner that the diabetes has actually helped him be much more mature.
"I had to pay attention to the details of my health at a really young age," he said. "So it keeps me healthy and eating the right things, which makes you feel a lot better throughout the day."