Paralympic gold medallist with type 1 diabetes overcomes needle phobia

Jack Woodfield
Wed, 26 Sep 2018
Paralympic gold medallist with type 1 diabetes overcomes needle phobia
A Paralympic gold medallist has spoken about his recent type 1 diagnosis and overcoming a phobia of needles.

Jonathan Fox, the 100m backstroke world record holder, was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes earlier this year having withdrawn from the England Commonwealth Games squad due to stress.

The 27-year-old lost two stone in July during a holiday and was eventually rushed to hospital. Having consumed a lot of sugar to put the weight back on, he had no idea he was making things worse.

Jonathan told BBC Sport: "Looking back now, all of the signs were there. I was doing sets in training that would usually be easy, but I was feeling exhausted and I was awful. I'd been trying to eat so much sugar and I was drinking coke to try and put on weight, but it was still dropping off and now I know I was making the problem worse."

To be diagnosed with type 1 diabetes was "difficult to accept", Jonathan said, but he was relieved to have finally learnt what was causing his health problems.

In the interview he spoke candidly about managing his diabetes alongside training, as well as the daily struggles he is trying to overcome.

He admitted he is attempting to overcome a major fear of needles. He said: "I have a real phobia about needles, but I have to inject myself before every meal with insulin now, which is difficult. I've only had just over a month to get used to it, but being an athlete has prepared me for structure and keeping food records - so hopefully that will help."

The four-time Paralympic medallist, who won gold at London 2012, also has cerebral palsy. He is currently taking a break from swimming, but is hopeful he will return to the sport once he has learnt the best way to keep on top of his diabetes.

"Going forward I'd love to stay in aquatics and think I have a lot to give back at a grassroots level but also with the podium squad as I believe people do respect what I've achieved," he added.

"I've got to get on top of the diagnosis and find structure but I've completed my level one swim-teaching and I hope there's some opportunities out there for me."
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