San Diego

Diabetes sports camp helps San Diego student athletes transcend their disease

Not only did all of the participants have type 1 diabetes, but so did all of the athletes who they were able to connect with

NBC Universal, Inc.

On Sunday, 20 middle school students local to San Diego were given the opportunity of a lifetime to train in their sports alongside professional and collegiate athletes. It was part of San Diego-based Dexom’s first-ever diabetes sports camp held at a San Diego Wave FC facility in Del Mar.

The day began with a pep talk from Wave FC President Jill Ellis who encouraged players to kick “a little tail” during drills, while developing mentorship relationships.

Not only did all of the participants have type 1 diabetes, but so did all of the athletes who they were able to connect with, including Blake Ferguson, a professional football player, and Carly Graham, a professional volleyball player.

A mentee and mentor talk about their sports during Dexcom's first-ever camp for middle schoolers with type 1 diabetes in San Diego on June 9, 2024. (NBC 7 San Diego)
NBC 7 San Diego
A mentee and mentor talk about their sports during Dexcom's first-ever camp for middle schoolers with type 1 diabetes in San Diego on June 9, 2024. (NBC 7 San Diego)

“You have these goals and these aspirations to play professional sports, but you don’t know if that’s going to be the outcome for you,” Ferguson told NBC 7.

He remembers the moment he was diagnosed in 2011. At the doctor’s office, he immediately began, “Googling professional athletes with type 1 diabetes because I wanted to know that I could still do everything I dreamed up since I was a little boy even despite this disease I now had.”

Ferguson now plays in the NFL for the Miami Dolphins. A dream for him, achieved, and now he wants to encourage others to do the same.

“Whether it’s being an athlete, a musician, a lawyer, a doctor, whatever it is, there is nothing about diabetes that can stop them from being great at whatever they want to do,” Ferguson said.

Dexcom started Dexcom U in 2022. It is a NIL (name, image, likeness) program for athletes like Ferguson to partner and share not only inspiration, but practical tips like maintaining glucose levels during competition. There are currently around 25 athletes who are part of the Dexcom U program.

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