Phil Crow: Playing College Football with T1 Diabetes

In this Podcast, we interview Phil Crow, and learn about his experience playing College Football with T1 Diabetes, as well as the importance of Diabetes Camps when he was first diagnosed.  

Phil Crow is a father of three who was diagnosed with Type-1 diabetes when he was 14. Phil had been very active in sports before he was diagnosed and was very involved with football. He remembers having the classic diabetes symptoms of blurry vision, loss of weight, regular thirst, and constant urination. His parents had thought nothing of it, but because Phil had a teacher who was a Type-1 diabetic, Phil, through the help of his teacher, detected that he might have diabetes.

When the doctor told Phil and his parents that he had Type-1 diabetes, he was confused. His confusion was also met with relief when the doctor told him, after Phil inquired, that he could still play football. The doctor showed him examples of top athletes who were Type-1 diabetics, all people who were doing amazing things with their lives.

Phil’s initial confusion was hard for him, but he was soon able to make sense of his new reality after he attended a diabetes Summer camp for kids. Meeting other children who were athletes like him, children who also had Type-1 diabetes gave him strength and hope. Phil says the summer camp was the best thing that ever happened to him as a kid.

Phil was able to manage his diabetes so well because he had supportive parents. He spent 3 to 4 days in the hospital after his diagnosis getting educated on how to count carbs and plan his meals.

Phil was open, at least relatively, about his Type-1 diabetes. He told his close friends and football coaches about his condition, and they were super helpful and supportive of him.

Also, his coaches and fellow teammates didn’t make him feel alienated because his school has a senior player who was a Type-1 diabetic.

When he was leaving for college at DePaul (where he eventually played collegial football), Phil’s parents were a bit worried. However, Phil eased his parent’s fears and concerns when he told his parents about a close high school friend of his who was attending the same college.

Phil built himself a community of support at school, people who knew about his Type-1 diabetes and who knew how to help him manage it during difficult times.

Phil encourages everyone to seek support from Type-1 diabetes communities around them. Phil also advises Type-1 diabetes to realize that they’re not alone. And that they can achieve whatever they want to achieve.

Phil is a strong advocate for technology in managing Type-1 diabetes. He believes that technology has immensely helped people living with Type-1 diabetes manage their situation better, giving them real-time feedback.

Phil would love for the progressions in insulin automation and glucose monitoring to continue, allowing for quicker insulin and glucose management.

When asked about parents who have children with Type-1 diabetes, Phil encouraged parents to seek a network of other parents whose children also have Type-1 diabetes.

Phil Crow continues to advocate for active participation in Type-1 diabetes communities because it helps people better handle their initial confusion. Community participation also helps with education and allowing others to understand about the risks and symptoms of Type-1 diabetes.