A Glasgow football coach living with Type 1 diabetes wants to tell the world that having the chronic condition doesn’t mean you have to stop doing what you love. And he’s so keen to pass that message on that he’s literally put his shirt on it!
"Diabetes should never stop you doing what you love"
Alistair Smith, Glasgow City FC Under 19s National Performance Coach, decided to personally sponsor the team's away kits with the Diabetes UK logo to ensure he gets the message out across the country that having “diabetes should never stop you doing what you love”.
The charity’s name and Alistair’s message will be taken far and wide throughout the season as the team compete all over Scotland
Alistair was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes at just two years old – which meant his parents managed his blood sugar tests and daily injections for him until he was old enough to take over.
He says growing up with the condition was tough but never held him back, playing amateur level football until recently – but that it was tough at times.
Alastair said: “The one thing I have always been interested in is sport, any type of sport but especially football. Having diabetes has never affected my ability to take part at all. I never let it! It was my release, a time where I could take part the same as everyone else and be good at it. For the 90 minutes I could forget all about my diabetes and concentrate on playing football.
“Don’t get me wrong it’s not always easy to compete at the level I wanted to. If my bloods were too high, I struggled to concentrate. I was sluggish, lethargic and always needing the toilet. On the other side if my bloods were too low, I wasn’t able to take part until it was safe to do so. I learned very quickly how important it was to check my bloods before and during sport.”
Alistair, who manages his condition with the help of diabetes technology – an insulin pump and a Freestyle Libre – says he was motivated to sponsor the new team strips to raise awareness of diabetes in sport and help people to see diabetes differently.
He explained: “I decided to ask if we could use Diabetes UK as a shirt sponsor to help raise awareness of diabetes and sport. I still don’t think enough is made about Type 1 diabetics taking part in sport: it should be celebrated. It takes a lot of hard work to manage diabetes and to do that whilst competing at the level football players do is something special.
“Glasgow City FC are the biggest and best women’s football club in Scotland, so what better way to get the attention I feel diabetes deserves? I want people with diabetes, especially children, to know that having diabetes should never stop them doing anything. If managed in the right way people with diabetes can compete at the highest levels possible.”