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HS Basketball Player Battles Diabetes 

Wayne Harvey

For many high school basketball players in Maine it takes a lot of hard work just to be on a team that reaches the Tournament.Balancing school work with practices and games is part of the equation.One player at Jonesport Beals High School has another obstacle to face”If I’m low I can’t my defense is bad, I’m not moving if I’m high I’m like shooting airballs five feet over the rim,” said the sophomore. “I have to make sure it’s under control.””It” is his blood sugar levels. 16 year old Thomas Beal is diabetic.His family noticed something a little different about him when he was two.”My father is diabetic so we just kinda noticed, it seemed like he was always thirsty so we’re like Dad why don’t you check him, and it come up that his blood sugar was like five hundred and something,” said his mother Vondell Beal. “We were lucky that he wasn’t sick and ending up in the hospital and we found out that way.”Now before he heads out onto the floor for a game he makes sure to check his blood sugar levels, something that is routine for all involved.”I’ve had different test kits,” said Thomas. “It’s pretty amazing how technology’s changed like now I have the pump so now I can, like after I check my blood it goes right to my pump and it’s easier to get a shot like before then I had to take like shots four or five times a day with needles.”Those 14 years of checking have made him who he is and appreciate what he’s doing, according to his mother. “He’s got to make sure that he checks his blood, that he eats what he’s supposed to eat and drinks plenty of water and stuff, so he has to do a little extra but I think it’s worth the effort for him.”As a sophomore for the Royals, Beal sees himself as an ambassador. “I kind of do, right now, for everybody who has diabetes who’s waiting for a cure, playing sports it’d be a lot easier.”