Daymon Blackport's Story - Passionate, Persistent and Performing
No one can deny my 16-year-old grandson, Daymon Blackport, has a huge passion for soccer. Born and raised in London, Ontario, Daymon has been playing the sport for 11 years, and with type 1 diabetes (T1D), for eight. He started out playing defense, but has been a striker/winger/attacking midfielder for the past three seasons. This year he played for the North London Soccer Club (NLSC) under 16 (U16) Ontario Youth Soccer League (OYSL), which is the highest league level of play in the province. He led the team with 11 goals and assisted on five others in just 14 games. He was also a member of the Ontario Soccer Association U16 Provincial Team and participated in several interprovincial games against Quebec. The past summer was a particularly busy one for Daymon. In addition to his OYSL games and training, he worked as a Junior Counselor at the John Hatch Sports Camp, attended soccer ID camps at Michigan State University, State of New York University and Bowling Green State University; and, upon invitation from FC London head coach Martin Painter, participated in a training session with London’s Premier Development League (PDL) team. The PDL provides NCAA college players the opportunity to continue their soccer development during the summer months. So this invitation was quite a thrill for the 16 year-old high school student. However, the major highlight of his summer was the Canada Games. After two days of tryouts in Vaughan, three days at the University of Toronto and four days at the University of Guelph, he was selected to play for the men’s team, representing Ontario. The Canada Summer Games is a prestigious event, held once every four years, in a setup mindful of the Olympics, but on a smaller scale. He spent a week in Sherbrooke, Quebec, staying at the Athletes Village and experiencing all the excitement and ceremony one would expect to see at such games. Daymon played in all five games, started in two, scored two penalty kicks and helped Team Ontario bring home the bronze medal.
Daymon’s soccer pursuits are made more difficult by the challenges that come with T1D. Managing blood glucose levels during high levels of any athletic competition is complex and can be very frustrating and confusing to say the least. Diabetes presents more of a challenge for soccer athletes than most other team sports, since the player may be on the field for up to 45 minutes without the opportunity to test blood sugar levels or treat for lows. This requires a great deal of pre-game activity involving careful nutrition planning and frequent blood sugar testing in an attempt to ensure desired glucose levels at game time. This past season, he played the full 90 minutes in all but one game and did not have to leave the field once to treat for low or high glucose level symptoms. His insulin pump is removed during games and he has found that for best performance, his glucose levels need to be between 10 and 13 millimoles/litre at the start of a game. He and his parents are doing a fine job of managing his diabetes. His last A1C came in at a respectable 6.7 per cent.
Daymon is keen on using his athletic achievements to encourage kids with T1D to keep active in sports. Many young people with T1D are so emotionally overwhelmed by the disease that they give up on sports participation altogether, which can be very detrimental to their long-term health. He can show by example that diabetes need not hinder anyone from competing successfully at the highest levels.
Daymon volunteers as a Teen Ambassador for JDRF. He has also worked on programs offering diabetes day camps and overnight retreats to teach kids how to remain active and manage their diabetes. In addition, at the request of his endocrinologist, Dr. Robert Stein, Daymon has been a guest to second year medical students at the Schulich School Of Medicine at Western University. At these sessions, he describes his life with T1D and answers questions from students.
Daymon attends Sir Frederick Banting Secondary School and is now in his third year. He has been an honours student for the past two years. He plays for the Banting Broncos Soccer Team and is also a member of the Golf Team.
He plans to study Kinesiology, Exercise Science and Physical Education at University with the goal in mind of achieving a combined academic and athletic scholarship.
You can catch some of Daymon’s soccer exploits on the following YouTube Channel.