Jay Cutler: No matter his performance, still an inspiration as a diabetic
Life is like a roller coaster, experiencing the ups and downs until eventually you get off the ride, but for quarterback Jay Cutler of the Chicago Bears his roller coaster has loops and corkscrews. Coming off a broken thumb that ended his season early in 2012, Jay Cutler must again put the naysayers to rest.
I may not know Jay Cutler personally, but let them continue to talk about his heart, attitude or inability to lead his team. Being diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes in 2008, he still is an inspiration to those with the disease, no matter what his performance on the field indicates.
It has been said that Cutler doesn’t want much to do with the media, gives one word answers and the former GM of the Denver Broncos said that Cutler’s attitude is why he was traded to the Bears in the first place. Cutler might not be the poster boy everyone wants in the NFL, but to some he’s everything and more.
Cutler’s April 2008 diagnosis of Type 1 diabetes has changed his life forever. He is constantly challenged to keep his blood sugars level and at a stable point to ensure that he does not have complications when he is older.
In 2007, Cutler was in his first season as starting quarterback for the Denver Broncos, and his 3,497 passing yards ranked as the seventh best single-season performance in team history. Experts were starting to refer to Cutler as the next Peyton Manning or Tom Brady, but in the later stages of the 2007 season, Cutler did not feel like himself. He lost over 30 pounds, felt lethargic and did not know what was wrong with him.It was then that Jay Cutler would realize he was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes, a disease that affects millions worldwide.
Cutler went through a period of time where his pancreas was turning off on him, what most people call the honeymoon period. It’s where your pancreas shuts down and will stop creating insulin for your body, which causes your blood sugar or glucose levels to rise. One who suffers from high blood glucose can feel sick, and if high enough, this could eventually turn deadly. By administering insulin, a diabetic is able to somewhat control their blood glucose level through careful monitoring and eating regimens.
There are two types of diabetes; Type 1 is less common than Type 2. Type 2 is usually brought on by being overweight and eating poorly. Type 1, also called Juvenile Diabetes, is a genetic disease with a cause that cannot currently be explained. Approximately over three million Americans suffer from diabetes, and Jay Cutler is no different than any other person with the disease, except he is an NFL star.
He carries a blood glucose monitor; he tests himself by pricking himself numerous times throughout the day and administers insulin to control his levels. I am unfamiliar with how Jay Cutler does these procedures, but he, like every other Type 1 diabetic, struggles with the constant up and downs of his blood sugar levels.
While I applaud Jay Cutler and believe that his status as a professional football player will help the disease, it’s sometimes tough to watch that it takes a person of his status to raise awareness of a disease that affects so many. I tip my hat to the inspiration that he has become to thousands of little boys and girls who one day want to be a professional athlete. Jay Cutler has been instrumental in founding The Jay Cutler Foundation, dedicated to improving the quality of life for underprivileged children and those suffering from diabetes. It is their belief that we are investing in their future as well as the future of the community itself.
One can hope that he is able to raise millions of dollars to find a cure, but with all the technology and improvements made over the years, why haven’t we found a cure? Why haven’t we found a cure for diabetes, cancer or another deadly disease that takes so many lives away from their loved ones?
At the beginning of the 2009 season, Jay Cutler being a diabetic was a big story. They talked about it in the preseason, they talked about it on Monday Night Football and during the season. Let’s not let 2012 be any different, and let’s not forget the positive that Jay Cutler brings to the NFL.
As a father of a daughter who suffers from Type 1 diabetes, I use Jay Cutler’s story as a story of success. He’s someone who puts forth great effort to educate kids and adults on the long-term affects of diabetes. He struggles just like my daughter on a daily basis, checking his blood and keeping the levels correct. He’s also still able to lead a professional football team like the Chicago Bears to the NFC Championship. It’s a feat no one should take lightly.
Please help The Penalty Flag as we walk to find a cure to Type 1 diabetes. I understand that not everyone can contribute and that times are tough, but if you can spare $1 to help we would appreciate it.