Sophomore Amanda Murray says when she was in high school she was afraid her diabetes diagnosis would scare away the recruiters of college teams. She had her parents tell the respective college coaches about it, in fear that her recruitments would dry up.
Her diagnosis did not scare away former Southern women’s lacrosse head coach Maureen Spellman, who recruited Murray. Spellman resigned this past fall to accept a head coaching position at Division III’s Endicott College.
Murray, public health major, who played lacrosse in high school, said this will be her fifth organized season in the sport.
“When I was a freshman in high school, at 14, I was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes and I really didn’t know what it was. I was in the hospital for a couple days and I need to manually give myself insulin shots or do an insulin pump and it could be a little tricky while playing a sport because I have to manage my blood sugars and watch the carbs I’m eating and my stress levels, and then exercise could also make your blood sugar go higher or lower so it’s definitely difficult but [it’s] manageable,” Murray says.
College is a bit different she says, because her day-to-day responsibilities are done without her parents alongside her, but she is managing it on her own.
“I used to be pretty closed about it when I was first diagnosed but now I have been able to able to accept it; it’s a lifestyle,” says Murray. “I think talking about it makes it more open – not like such a disease.”
Her day-to-day responsibilities include repetitive monitoring of her blood sugars.
“I definitely have to make sure my blood sugars are in check — before practice, in practice and after. I wear a device that constantly monitors my glucose levels and that’s really helpful. My coaches can see the number on the device as well.”
Murray says that coming into her freshman year, with Spellman as the head coach, and interim head coach Betsy Vendel as the assistant, everyone was very understanding and accepting.
Vendel says she previously only had athletes with asthma, but Murray’s diabetes does not affect Murray on the field in any way; she is treated just like any other student-athlete.
“Her freshman year there was a bit of an unknown with how her teammates would react,” Vendel says, “but now the girls are interested, and I am, too, in how everything impacts her daily life.”
Murray gave her coaching staff some materials, when she first came on at Southern, to further educate them on diabetes and if something were to occur with her. She says they seemed to take it upon themselves to get more educated on the entire concept and the lifestyle change that diabetes is for so many people.
“I live with all lacrosse players and they’ve learned so much,” Murray says. “Being in the locker room now is not anything I even worry about.”
By Matt Gad