NATA Issues Guidelines for Diabetic Athletes

| Jan 10, 2008

The National Athletic Trainers Association has issued a seven-element plan for helping athletes with type 1 diabetes maintain proper blood sugar levels while competing, training or traveling.

The plan offers guidelines for dealing with matters ranging from blood glucose monitoring and hypoglycemia to insulin therapy and emergency contact information.

"Exercise training and competition can cause major disturbances when it comes to blood-glucose management," says certified athletic trainer Carolyn C. Jimenez, PhD, ATC, lead author of NATA's position statement. "Special considerations for blood-glucose control, medication, travel and recovery from injury are required for all athletes with type 1 diabetes."

The guidelines include:

  1. Blood glucose monitoring guidelines: These should address the frequency of monitoring as well as pre-exercise blood glucose levels where beginning exercise could be unsafe.
  2. Insulin therapy guidelines: These should include the type of insulin used, dosages and adjustment strategies for planned activities types, as well as insulin correction dosages for high blood glucose levels.
  3. List of other medications: Make sure to include medicines used to assist with blood glucose control and/or to treat other diabetes-related conditions.
  4. Guidelines for low blood glucose (hypoglycemia) recognition and treatment: These guidelines include prevention, signs, symptoms and treatment of hypoglycemia, including instructions on the use of the hormone glucagon to metabolize carbohydrates.
  5. Guidelines for high blood glucose (hyperglycemia) recognition and treatment: These guidelines include prevention, signs, symptoms and treatment of hyperglycemia and diabetic ketoacidosis, a condition where insufficient levels of insulin lead to hyperglycemia and the buildup of ketones (byproducts of fat metabolism which can reach toxic levels) in the blood. Diabetic ketoacidosis can be life threatening.
  6. Emergency contact information: Include parents' and/or other family members' telephone numbers, doctor's telephone number and consent for medical treatment (for minors).
  7. Medic alert: Athletes with diabetes should have a medic alert tag with them at all times.

Since travel is also often a part of life for those on sports teams, NATA advises athletes with diabetes to carry pre-packaged meals and snacks in case food availability is interrupted. If travel occurs over several time zones, insulin therapy may need to be adjusted to coordinate with changes in eating and activity patterns. 

To view the NATA guidelines, go to:

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Categories: Blood Glucose, Blood Sugar, Diabetes, Diabetes, Exercise, Food, Insulin, Low Blood Sugar, Type 1 Issues

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Posted by Anonymous on 14 January 2008

Any diabetic who exercises should follow this advice.

Posted by Anonymous on 15 January 2008

WHen I finally got past pages of waffle that included the trainer take an interest in eye retinopathy tests, and HB1ACs, finally some real figures: BUT these are useless in real life because they define fasting blood glucose as 4 hours after eating. Who do you know would excercie 4 hours after eating???
What a waste of time and no doubt money. They should have asked any mother of a diabetic child for some real life practical guide lines, that wouldn;t inculde making sure the trainer regularly checks the blood meter strips are in date!!
"Appendix 3. American Diabetes Association Guidelines Concerning Hyperglycemia and Exercise16
Blood Glucose Level Comment
Fasting* blood glucose level is 250 mg/dL (13.9 mmol/L). Test urine and/or blood for ketones.
If ketones present, exercise is contraindicated.
If ketones not present, exercise is not contraindicated.
Blood glucose value is 300 mg/dL (16.7 mmol/L) and without
Exercise with caution, and continue to monitor blood glucose
*Fasting is defined as 4 h or more after eating a meal."

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