People to Know 2014: Phoebe Boone
Phoebe Boone is impressive in the greatest sense of the word: She’s an elite athlete and a woman playing what many consider a guy’s game. And, most remarkable of all, she’s had type 1 diabetes since she was 10 years old.
As a former pro basketball player, I understand how important it is to maintain optimum health and fitness. And as someone who was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes after retiring from the NBA, I still know how hard it can be to reconcile athletic ability and a diabetes diagnosis. Phoebe, 30, admits that tackling issues other athletes don’t have (such as low blood glucose) can be a downer, but she takes it in stride.
If Phoebe were the kind of person who gave up in the face of difficulty, she’d have ditched the idea of rugby before she ever joined the team. But on both the U.S. Women’s National Team and the Berkeley (California) All Blues club team, she plays the position most responsible for tackles—something she doesn’t shy away from even though she wears a pump and continuous glucose monitor (CGM). Instead, she disconnects from her pump, but wears both an infusion set and CGM sensor that usually stay put, even when she’s tackled to the ground.
It’s encouraging to see athletes like Phoebe testing their blood glucose on the sidelines before taking down opponents on the field. As I tour the country with Novo Nordisk, discussing our Diabetes Dream Team program, I’m constantly telling people that as long as they have well-managed diabetes, they can do whatever they want and thrive.
Phoebe is a prime example of this: Two decades of type 1 diabetes and she’s not sitting on the bench while everyone without diabetes has all the fun. Despite a full-time job, Phoebe spends two nights a week at practice and weekends at games, all the while maintaining good blood glucose control. She’s the kind of role model we can all look up to—people with type 1 and type 2 alike.
Dominique Wilkins (aka “The Human Highlight Film”) is an NBA Hall of Famer and current vice president of basketball operations for the Atlanta Hawks. He was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes 14 years ago, at age 40. He has teamed up with Novo Nordisk on the Diabetes Dream Team initiative (diabetesdreamteam.com) to discuss how diet, exercise, and medication can improve blood glucose control. Through the campaign, Dominique gives an inside look at how these essential elements of his diabetes therapy game plan have helped him learn to better manage his disease.