NFL quarterback Jay Cutler currently plays for the Chicago Bears, but it was during his tenure at the Denver Broncos that he was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes.
Type 1 diagnosis
In May 2008, after losing 35 pounds and feeling continually tired, sometimes before matches, a blood test revealed Cutler had a blood glucose level of 550 mg/dl (30.6 mmol/L).
Following his diagnosis of type 1 diabetes, Cutler began using an insulin pump , which he removed for games. He soon adapted to regular injections instead and blood testing before, during and after games.
Cutler started to cut out excessive carbohydrates and sweets while trying to focus on eating protein and fruit. Before his diagnosis, he readily admitted to eating “anything and everything” and notes his dietary changes as a big adjustment.
“You’re 25 years old, you’re used to eating whatever you want, doing whatever you want. If you want to go out to lunch, go ahead and go. Now, you’re counting carbs and eating healthier and injecting insulin at the table,” Cutler told the Associated Press in 2012.
Cutler reportedly aims to stay around 8-9 mmol/l before kick-off, but has to be wary of adrenaline steering his blood glucose levels higher.
Cutler moved to the Bears later in 2008. Among the records Cutler possesses at the franchise include “Most Career Game Winning Drives” (2009-2014) and “Most Pass Completions in a Single Season” (2009).
These are just two of the numerous records Cutler has set since his move to the team he supported as a child while growing up in Indiana.
Cutler often visits hospital across the United States to improve public knowledge and awareness about diabetes.
In 2009, Cutler teamed up with Eli Lilly and Campaign for the “Touchdowns for Diabetes” program that funds diabetic camp scholarships.
During that seaso, Lilly sent a child to diabetes camp by donating $1,000 to the American Diabetes Association’s “Camp Scholarship” fund following every touchdown pass that Cutler threw.