The “Other” Game

The “Other” Game

This Sunday when the Chicago Bears take the field to play the Green Bay Packers in the NFC Championship game, many experts believe the winner will be determined by their respective quarterbacks.  Handling this critical position for the Bears is Jay Cutler, who besides being the starting quarterback is also a type 1 diabetic. While Aaron Rodgers, the starting quarterback for the Packers, is working just as hard as Mr. Cutler, the simple fact is he has one less thing to worry about.

In addition to worrying about which blitz package the Packer defense will throw at him or when to audible, Mr. Cutler carries the additional burden of game planning for his diabetes. Although Mr. Cutler rarely talks about this unique aspect of his preparation, he must take it into consideration. Considering that the winner of this game will go on to the Superbowl, the biggest game of all, no detail can be ignored and while Diabetic Investor is not privy to what’s being said in the Bears meetings you can bet that this issue has been discussed by the coaching staff. The last thing the Bears need is for their starting quarterback to experience a hypoglycemic event during a critical point in the game.

Although Mr. Cutler is no ordinary patient, as he has access to the best care and top diabetes talent to assist him, the simple fact is it is up to him alone to properly prepare for the game. Unlike Mr. Rodgers, Mr. Cutler is likely paying closer attention to his glucose levels, when and what he eats and most importantly his insulin dosing regimen. 

This may not be as easy as it sounds as there are several external factors that will impact Mr. Cutler’s diabetes this week. Factors such as the weather, stress and adrenaline levels all play a role in managing diabetes, particularly for a type 1 diabetic like Mr. Cutler. The reality is Mr. Cutler can go into Sunday’s game fully prepared and based on how the game goes all that advance preparation gets thrown out the window.

Diabetic Investor does not mean to imply that should Mr. Cutler throw an interception or play poorly that it should be blamed on his diabetes. Given his play against Seahawks, throwing for two touchdowns and running for two touchdowns, it’s obvious he has learned how to deal with diabetes during big games. Still, the fact that Mr. Cutler has diabetes cannot be ignored and could play a role in his game day performance.

There are many in the diabetes community who are rooting for the Bears just because Mr. Cutler has type 1 diabetes, as they believe this would bring added attention to the disease. While Diabetic Investor does not necessarily disagree with this thought process it should be noted that Mr. Cutler is not the only elite athlete with diabetes. Gary Hall Jr., who won 10 Olympic Medals for swimming, is also a Type 1 diabetic.

Rather Diabetic Investor sees the bigger story here being all the fans with diabetes who’ll be watching Sunday’s game. Unlike Mr. Cutler they do not have access to the best minds in diabetes to help them better manage their diabetes. Each and every day millions of people must deal with their diabetes while at the same time deal with all their other issues. As we noted yesterday diabetes is a 24x7x365 job and properly managing diabetes requires an extraordinary effort.

The bottom line here is win or lose Jay Cutler should be commended for more than his performance on the football field.  As should the millions of fans with diabetes who must deal with their diabetes each and every day outside of the media spotlight.