Chris Pennell explains why diabetes should not stop you from following your dreams
Real Stories "Diabetes gave me a challenge, and that made me a stronger person and a better player – much better than I would be if I wasn’t diabetic".
I was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes at the age of 19. By that time, I had already played one year in professional rugby., I had already played one year in professional rugby. After the initial shock, I started worrying about the potential impact of the condition on my career. One of the first things I did was a Google search for diabetes. Sir Steve Redgrave, who has the type 2 form of the condition, came up. And that gave me confidence in my ability to achieve everything I wanted – in life and sport.
Having a positive attitude and learning about the condition have been incredibly important, as it has been the exceptional support from the rugby club, family, and friends. Plus, everything we do in rugby, in terms of lifestyle, from exercising regularly to following a healthy diet, lends itself perfectly to good diabetes control.
Regular blood testing is key. So, it’s important no to be afraid or ashamed to do it in public. The stigma surrounding diabetes is a problem. But, it can be addressed by increasing awareness and education outside the diabetic community.
Diabetes gave me a challenge, and that made me a stronger person and a better player – much better than I would be if I wasn’t diabetic. There is no need for the condition to take over your life. You can still follow your dreams.