Joe Eldridge is a former rider and co-founder of Team Novo Nordisk, the first multi-team organisation of athletes consisting only of people with diabetes.
Eldridge was 10 years old when he was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes He told himself that as long as he could manage his diabetes, then he could manage any other ‘normal’ challenges life would throw at him.
This mentality proved valuable. Not only did Eldridge go on to become a professional cyclist, but he helped create an organisation where diabetes management is at the forefront of their operation.
Team Novo Nordisk
Eldridge created Team Novo Nordisk alongside Phil Southerland, a fellow type 1 diabetic whom he met at Auburn University. The two struck up a close friendship and soon began riding together with a group of cyclists.
Little did they know at the time this group would later field competitive teams of cyclists, triathletes and runners with type 1 and type 2 diabetes.
Eldridge raced professionally for seven years, retiring in 2014, but not before becoming a United States track national champion (team pursuit, 2012).
Discussing his management on and off the bike, he told Diabetes.co.uk: “ It is a full-time job to manage your diabetes when you are competing at the highest level of sports, but it requires just as much discipline when you are not competing.
“As a person with diabetes, you constantly have to be adapting to your current situations in order to manage your diabetes well.”
‘Go for it!’
Eldridge spoke at the first-ever Talking About Diabetes (TAD) conference in March 2016, and insists that while it takes time to adapt to diabetes management, which “changes all of the time”, there is no reason why people with diabetes can’t follow their desired path in sport.
“No matter what it is you want to do, make a plan and figure out how you can play the sport you want to play.
“It starts with checking blood glucose levels often, working with your healthcare team to figure out how sport is going to affect those levels , and then making small adjustments that allow you to compete. Go for it!”
Click here for the full Diabetes.co.uk interview with Joe Eldridge.