(Photo by Sam Greenwood/Getty Images)
Among the more than 25 million Americans who have diabetes is Jay Cutler, the Bears quarterback who was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes when he was with the Denver Broncos. Learning of the disease helped Cutler improve as a player, but it's still something he wrestles with every day.
While on his ESPN Chicago radio show, Cutler said he controls the disease by controlling his diet. However, it affects him every day.
"It's something you go to sleep with and you wake up with everyday," Cutler, 29, said. "It's not something that you can just be like 'Hey, I'm going to take a day off here and I'll catch back up with it tomorrow.' It's difficult to deal with. I think more than anything over the past three, four, five years is I've changed my diet a lot. I think that's made the biggest impact on me being able to control my numbers and being able to control diabetes."
He has cut out sweets and carbs, and eats more protein and fruit. He has to plan his eating and insulin intake, so gamedays can pose a problem. Night games, like the one he is playing in on Sunday, are difficult.
"The more you put in your body the more you have to regulate it with insulin. So later kickoffs you're talking about breakfast, lunch and a pregame meal, so that's more food you've got to be aware of and what you put in your body. A noon game, light breakfast, a little fruit and some insulin and I'm good to go."
Controlling the disease made a difference in Cutler's game. He was diagnosed before the 2008 season. In 2008, Cutler put up his best yardage numbers. He had fewer fumbles and interceptions. Basically, he became the player that Chicago so happily traded for in 2009.