Dave Kutner, Captain of the Canadian Men’s National Dodgeball Team, does not let T1D limit his active lifestyle

Diagnosed in 1989 at the age of five, Dave Kutner does not let his type 1 diabetes (T1D) deter him from actively participating in sports like baseball, football, volleyball, golf, and competitive dodgeball.

Dodgeball became a passion in 2005 when he was looking for a sport to play during the summer in Toronto while he was completing his undergraduate degree at Wilfrid Laurier University. Instantly falling in love with the sport, he played in an intramural league multiple nights a week for three years. Dave was also part owner of the Toronto Dodgeball Association for three years until they sold the league in 2012.

In May 2013, Dave was named captain of the Canadian Men’s National Dodgeball Team as part of the Canadian Dodgeball Association. In the following September Dave and the team traveled to Queenstown, New Zealand to compete in the World Dodgeball Invitational, organized by the World Dodgeball Federation (WDBF). We recently caught up with Dave to ask him a few questions about the World Dodgeball Invitational.

Q. How did your team qualify? What other countries participate?

A. There was no official qualification to participate in the Dodgeball Invitational. The team consists of eight men - each of which has dedicated time and energy over the years to hone their skills.  All countries that participate in the WDBF are invited to participate. Currently six countries belong – Canada, the United States, New Zealand, Australia, Hong Kong and Malaysia. Singapore and Brunei hope to become involved in 2014. The goal is to integrate more countries each year to expand the WDBF to a global entity and governing body.

Q. Does the management of your T1D change from a regular day versus when you are playing dodgeball?

A. I am on an injection schedule and have a sliding scale to balance my insulin intake relative to the carbohydrates I consume. On average, I am on four injections a day – breakfast, lunch, dinner and before bed – but adjust as needed. When I am playing dodgeball, I decrease the amount of basal insulin I take in the morning as I anticipate a long day of athletic competition. I maintain my standard level of short acting insulin amounts, but tend to eat less and as a result take less insulin throughout the day. If it is a weeknight game, I actually increase my short acting insulin (Humalog) as my sugars run higher during athletic competition due to a spike in my adrenaline levels. My blood sugar tends to drop 2-3 hours after finishing whatever sport I am playing, so I make sure to have a good snack post games.

Q. Does your T1D management differ by sport?

A. Yes, my management does vary depending on the sport. It is an understanding I have developed over the years. I know how to adjust my management depending on the activity I am participating in.

Q. What advice would you offer to other individuals your age for managing their T1D while playing sports?

A. I would advise others to:

  • Be diligent about your T1D.
  • Notice trends. Pay attention to how your body reacts to specific activities this will help you plan better.
  • Prepare. Different activities have different reactions. You need to adjust and learn how to properly prepare and account for these effects.
  • No limitations. Hold the mentality that having T1D does not limit the activities you engage in. Instead plan ahead to participate in anything your heart desires.
  • Ask. When in doubt – ask. There is a support structure in place to provide advice from your personal Diabetes Team to others in the Diabetic community. Use these people, they are there to help.

Dave and his family have been active volunteers with JDRF for over 15 years. Thank you Dave for sharing your story and great management tips with us!

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