Handling Diabetes as a Squash player

Being parent/guardian of a child with diabetes can be tough, however if they show an interest in Squash – you should not shoot down their dreams of playing as there a number of things that you will consider to ensure they get the most of the game and hopefully continue to play once they become adults.

Having diabetes does not have to get in the way of exercise, let alone Squash competition; there are a number of accomplished athletes deal with diabetes while competing in their respective sports – in some even have asthma.

In fact, kids with diabetes are healthier through plenty of exercise or participating in sport, as it can actually help them manage their condition better.

In the context of playing Squash, it can bring about a number of social long-term health benefits:

  • Help lead a better health for life: any form of exercise strengthens bones and muscles, reduces the risk of heart disease and some types of cancer.
  • Life experience: in coaching sessions or playing Squash, your child will get a chance to meet new people and most important learn about teamwork, sportsmanship, and competition.
  • Increased confidence: Playing any sport helps boost kids’ self-esteem and confidence; once become more confidence in Squash in mastering the technique it will inspire them to see what they are capable of achieving.
  • Improve mood: Squash is well-known for to help relieve tension and stress, encourage relaxation, and improve mood; in playing Squash it can help your improve their concertation and make them pay attention.

Preparing your child for Squash

squash racquet (Credit England Sport)

As a parent, if you notice that child has shown an interest in Squash especially if they are copying you in practicing Squash drills, this is good but it is essential that you take them to a doctor for advice before getting coaching session with a professional coach at a leisure centre or private club.

Your doctor will let you know about any changes in testing schedule, medication, or other things you might need to think about for when taking up Squash – furthermore, the doctor is likely to give the green light to any activities your child wants to start — after all, any form of physical activity is an important part of diabetes management.

Once given the green light, it is important that their Squash coach knows about their condition, as it make it easier for them to ensure your plays to the best of their ability alongside other kids.

Controlling blood sugar levels

Blood Sugar Testing

The next thing you, and your child’s coach need to consider is ensuring your child’s blood sugar levels are positive, once your family doctor has given your child the green to play Squash.

According to experts, the effects of blood sugar levels from playing squash can vary, which may surprise some due to the intense nature of the sport.

Hence, with your taking up Squash, it can ensure a better response to insulin and better blood sugar control. Exercise makes insulin work better in the body, which helps someone with diabetes keep their blood sugar levels in a healthier range.

Many may expect blood sugar levels to fall during and following a squash match, but the predominance of upper limb movements and changes in body position results in relatively low energy expenditure.

As a result, glucose use is also quite low, with glucose production subsequently higher, which can lead to blood sugar levels rising during a game if not carefully managed.

Furthermore, medical identification must be worn should an emergency occur such as a hypo, help emergency staff help your child conduct the necessary medical recovery procedure.

Kids with diabetes may need to check blood sugar levels and have an extra snack to prevent low blood sugar levels. Hence, in the context of Squash, the doctor may recommend a reduced insulin dosage to help prevent hypoglycaemia.

With Low blood sugar, it can happen during or after a game of Squash. This happens when the body uses up much of its stored sugar, especially if insulin levels are still high after an injection. Some of the signs of low blood sugar include sweating, light-headedness, shakiness, weakness, anxiety, hunger, headache, problems concentrating, and confusion. More severe cases can cause fainting or seizures.

As for high blood sugar, before or during a game this may also have to be dealt with, as the muscles need more energy during exercise, so the body responds by releasing extra glucose into the blood. If the body does not have enough insulin to use the glucose, then the sugar will stay in the blood.

There is a chance your child will need to use the toilet a lot more resulting in dehydration, especially when someone loses even more water through sweating and breathing hard during exercise.

A Squash coach, will need to look out signs of high blood sugar include excessive thirst, tiredness, weakness, and blurry vision.

Therefore, to combat this, parents/guardians need to ensure their child has plenty of water with them or the funds to purchase some at the venue; and let their coach to let their child sit out if they feel unwell and an emergency number to contact you straight if the problem gets worst.

Should your child’s sugar levels drop too low when playing regular Squash, speak with doctor about whether to lower your dose prior to playing squash.

Handling medication and insulin issue

In playing Squash, it can cause hypos, if your child is on medication for their diabetes condition; especially their sessions are very energetic.

The first is the adrenaline rush that arises from squash, which is much greater than other sports due to its rapid speed. This is another reason why glucose production from the liver is quite high.

The second is that there is much less potential for hypoglycaemia later in the evening, which will alleviate the need to reduce your quick acting insulin later in the day.

It is important to test your child’s blood glucose levels regularly – to check how your blood glucose levels respond – can allow you as parent to take measures such as consuming carbohydrate if their sugar levels begin to drop below 5mmol/l. This will prevent hypos from occurring.

As for playing Squash with an insulin pump, it will not prevent you from playing just do not make too many dives for the ball.

Furthermore, it is important have them stick to a schedule of taking their insulin – your doctor could recommend adjusting the insulin dosage for Squash. If your child injects insulin, try to avoid giving injections in the part of the body most used in that sport (like injecting the playing hand). If the insulin to be absorbed more quickly, increasing the chances of hypoglycaemia.

Always ensure your child wears an insulin pump and it will not be in the way for exercise and will not be disconnected or damaged. Talk to the doctor about what to do if your child needs or wants to take off the pump during exercise.

Sticking to structured health plan and anatomy in managing diabetes

Like most sports, following a structured diet & nutrition is essential to playing well in Squash for children; hence, therefore the Rainbow diet is the best one to stick to help them have both a healthy mind & body for coaching sessions or matches.

Best foods for the Squash Player

Rainbow Diet – diet of Squash champions

In the context of young player with diabetes, their Squash coach can help you adjust your child’s meal plan to provide the extra energy needed during Squash game.

The Squash coach could suggest snacks before, during, or after a game. Therefore, it is essential that you explain to your child how this helps them and why it is essential to have, along with consequences of not doing so, like low blood sugar.

Let us not forget, hypoglycaemia can interfere with your child’s Squash performance and ability to participate.

Once your child becomes a teenager there is chance they may be tempted to try strategies like or reducing calories or water to get down to increase their stamina in Squash, be warned as this may cause problems, and increase the likelihood of either hyperglycaemia or hypoglycaemia.

At some point, you as a parent will have to allow your child manage their diabetes condition.

Yes, this can be a challenge when they are in a group of kids being supervised by an authority figure like a mentor or even their Squash coach.

It is ok, if managing their diabetes properly could disrupt a Squash coaching session or match. In addition, your child should feel free to stop playing a sport or exercising to attend to their diabetes needs, like eating a snack for low blood sugar symptoms or checking blood glucose levels.

Nevertheless, at some point have episodes of low blood sugar, therefore, kids/teens with diabetes should wear and/or carry some sort of medical identification (like a bracelet or necklace) at all times. Besides identifying them as having diabetes, this can provide emergency contact information.

Gearing up for their first tournament

So your child has shown signs of being future squash champion, hence you as a parent will want to allow them to take part in competitive tournament against other young squash junior.

The threat of their blood sugar increasing their first match, as their coach will ensure that they do not need drink too much carbohydrate or glucose drinks prior to their match.

It important not to reduce insulin before their game as it not advised, even though a small injection during the game, however if you notice your blood sugar rising, may be necessary.

If you are playing for the first time, it is best to eat and inject as normal before playing. You will then be able to gauge during and after the game, how your blood sugar levels are affected.

Always seek advice from your doctor if unsure or a member of tournament medical team.

As a parent/guardian; it essential that you test your child’s blood sugar before, after and during their competitive match, to monitor any patterns that may develop.

Should there be a rise in blood glucose levels, it may be an issue following the game; in this case, you can either take a small insulin dose without food or reduce your insulin amount with your next meal.

Lifetime of better health and more

By following all these procedures in ensuring your child is healthy through a game of Squash and their blood is under control, there is a strong possibility he or she will continue to play Squash as they reach adulthood and should they become a professional, there is no doubt they will thank you for your support.

To sum up, always seek the approval of your family doctor, a clear plan for preventing and managing problems should they arise. Furthermore, always do some advance preparation; your child can enjoy the many rewards that Squash bring!