gymnasts using an Insulin pump

I was guest coach last week at Go For It Gymnastics in Vegas, invited by Dana Brass.

One of the girls was training with some kind of Insulin pump, the first time I’d seen one on a gymnast.

Online I later saw an article about this girl, Lena, a L6 now a L8 gymnast who trains 22hrs/wk.

… Lena was diagnosed with type one diabetes when she was four years old and is on an insulin pump. She is an inspiration to other children with type 1 diabetes. …

Type 1 Diabetes – Lena gymnastics meet

The comments on that post include some from parents of other gymnasts with Type 1.

Leave a comment if you’ve an opinion on the Insulin pump for gymnasts. Especially if there are any complications.

13 comments ↓

#1 Kim on 05.22.10 at 11:56 am

One year at our gym’s summer camp there was a girl with an insulin pump and there were no problems at all. Not sure about competitive kids though.

#2 Dana on 05.22.10 at 11:58 am

She is now Level 8, and a pleasure to coach! And we loved having you in the gym Rick!

#3 fargo on 05.22.10 at 4:30 pm

I coached a girl with type 1 and once she was a bit older she went to the pump…I believe it came off for meets though? There were a lot of level checks between routines/rotations.

#4 coach Rick on 05.22.10 at 4:50 pm

I updated her Level in the original post, Dana.

#5 Rae on 05.22.10 at 5:05 pm

I had a recreational gymnasts with an insulin pump and there were no problems. I was always careful about my hand placement when spotting her and afraid I would hurt her, but even when I did accidently bump into the pump, she said it was fine. It didn’t stop her from doing anything that her classmates did.

#6 JC Cheek on 05.22.10 at 5:39 pm

It’s not the same thing as a pump, but for about a month, I had to train recreationally with a heart monitor on. It had 3 leads adhered to my chest and other than the occasional yank, there was no problem. This girl sounds really inspiring though. Overcoming medical challenges like that is always enjoyable to hear.

#7 Liz R on 05.22.10 at 8:52 pm

I’ve coached a few kids that have the pump. They leave it on for training and take it off to compete their meets. Especially with the younger ones, you just gotta make sure they keep checking their levels and have snacks and water in their bags. The adrenaline/stress of competition can throw those things way off!

#8 Rachel on 05.23.10 at 5:43 pm

My daughter is a competitive gymnast and is a diabetic. She has been since age 4 type 1 and started gym just a few months after her diagnosis. She now trains 27 hours a week & is a L7 training up for L8/L9 over the summer. Her insulin pump has never been an issue. The biggest challenge she has is diabetes takes its toll on her immune system and makes her prone to illness. She gets frustrated because she misses work outs due to illness.

#9 Coach S on 05.25.10 at 1:30 pm

A competitive boy at our club has one. There haven’t been any issues with it.

#10 Brynn on 05.26.10 at 6:01 pm

I am a type 1 diabetic and also use an insulin pump. I both coached and did gymnastics with the pump on. I never had any fear of it being ripped out. If it does get ripped out, it’s not a big deal, the user can simply go and reinsert another “site” (a small plastic tube in the body where insulin goes in) Don’t worry about the pump, it won’t hurt anyone :)
And for the above poster who said they watch the placing of their hands when spotting: bravo, it does help. These pumps can withstand a lot of force, mine was ripped off during a fault, hit the concrete wall and bounced, and survived!

#11 coach Rick on 05.26.10 at 6:56 pm

Thanks Brynn. That’s what I was really wondering.

#12 gym mom on 05.27.10 at 3:00 pm

My son uses an insulin pump. He actually just takes it off during practice. He finds it’s just easier for him. The “site” where it hooks to is skin, stays on though and it’s really just something that he’s used to having bumped and pulled (he’s a boy after all) and it doesn’t hurt. :) The site is simply inserted under the skin, into the fat layer. It’s not actually into a vein or muscle or anything, so under most circumstances, it’s entirely painless.

#13 Kim on 02.23.11 at 3:25 pm

Hi. My 8-year-old just started gymnastics and is going on a pump next week. I am curious… Where to put site for gymnastics? Should she unplug for the one hour? What about leotards? Any kind of two piece out there? Can’t quite grasp what to do with the pump when she is in class.

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