Guest Interview: Noel Kowalewski

We’re back with another amazing story here on the TDFC blog!

Noel is a professional Futsal player in the USA competing for VA United FC based in Virginia. She’s an inspiration to type 1 Diabetic people in the US and took some time away from her busy schedule to answer some questions for us. She continues to show that type 1 Diabetes should never hold you back from achieving your dreams. Enjoy the read!

Noel Kowalewski

Diagnosed February 26, 2002

Birthdate Nov 27, 1992

  1. So what is it that motivates you to play football?

What motivates me to play is that growing up after being diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes I always had people telling me I couldn’t do this, or I would never be able to accomplish that, because of my Diabetes. I remember lots of people telling me that I would never be able to achieve the soccer dreams I had set for myself.

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  1. What challenges do you face with your Diabetes whilst playing? How do your blood glucose levels respond? Any tips for the community which work well for you to keep things controlled?

The biggest challenge I face with Diabetes while playing is the constant fluctuation of glucose levels during games. You can factor in the increase of adrenaline causing your blood glucose to spike and then the crash in levels after games. However you also need to consider heat, which can cause dehydration that causes my blood glucose to increase because I have no fluids.

I think the biggest thing that has helped my control when it comes to Diabetes management would be the ability to have a CGM (Continuous glucose monitor)

  1. Do you have any rituals, specific foods or routines you go through with your Diabetes around playing?

I test (check my CGM) before all games and practices, during any type of break and after games and practices as well.

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  1. Who inspired you to play in the first place? Do you have any diabetic sporting inspirations? Any footballers/athletes that inspire you?

My biggest inspiration when it comes to soccer would be my older brother. Growing up and watching him accomplish so many soccer goals as a non diabetic only encouraged me to want to follow behind him. However, most recently I discovered that the MLS has a Type 1 Diabetic player as well, Jordan Morris, who also wears the same CGM and insulin pump as me. Jordan became someone that I follow not only because we play the same sport, but because we wear the same number and disease as well. His coach for the Seattle Sounders Dave Tenney was my coach/trainer when I was growing up and had to face this challenge while playing as well.

  1. Do you face any difficulties in blood glucose management post games? Is there anything specifically you do to tackle it? Any tips you’d like to give the community?

Right after games my blood sugar is normally high however about an hour or two later my blood glucose level crashes. I found that if I have a bag of fruit snacks at half time then it helps with the crash afterwards without having to stack insulin for the high.

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  1. Tell us about a proud moment you look back upon in relation to your football… (Could be a league title, a MOTM or just getting your glucose levels right around playing)

I have been lucky and blessed enough to have a lot of proud accomplishments whilst playing soccer and having Diabetes.

Playing in Las Vegas and Florida and other various locations for college showcases and top elite tournaments are fond memories.

However one of my proudest moments whilst playing soccer was being able to travel to ESPN Wide World of Sports at Disney and being able to compete against and BEAT Japan’s national team all whilst having type 1 Diabetes. This ended with an email from one of the top colleges wanting me to come in for a visit to discuss my scholarship options.

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  1. What would be your message to other diabetics out there playing football or wanting to get involved in it?

Be the change you wish to see in the world. There is always going to be someone or something to try and drag you down but you must keep your head up and know that you are greater than your HIGHS and LOWS.

  1. What do you think of “The Diabetes Football Community” project?

I think The Diabetes Football Community is a fantastic project. All Type 1 Diabetics need a support team of not only friends and family but from those who have the same aspirations whilst facing the same disease.

  1. AND finally and probably most importantly…. who do you support?

I support everyone that is out there chasing a dream!

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