By RENE TORRES
Special to the NEWS
Editor’s note: The introductory portion of the following story was written when Angelina “Gigi” Garcia was ten years old. Today, she is 16 and attends San Benito High School.
Can kids play competitive sports if they are diabetic? Of course they can. For instance, let’s look at Angelina J. (Gigi) Garcia’s story, who is 10-years-old and hails from San Benito.
Gigi, as she is known by friends, was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes four years ago. Yes, life has thrown her a nasty curve at a young age, but more unbelievable, because of her condition, she has faced discrimination — not only by her peers, but by some coaches that shy away from having a diabetic on their team.
She has overcome many obstacles but because of her strong character and the dedicated support from her parents, Garcia has adjusted well to the many challenges brought by the disease by staying active.
Her weekly routine includes working on sharpening her skills as a softball pitcher at the South Texas Fast Pitch Academy in Brownsville, a place where she was welcomed with open arms.
Due to her work on the practice field, she has developed into a formidable ace for the Hurricanes, a softball team from San Benito, but it hasn’t been easy; as a diabetic, playing sports requires a little more preparation before she steps into the diamond.
While most kids enjoy a snack after the game, Garcia’s snack might come during the game. She not only has to worry about facing the homerun hitter, but also facing the fact that her sugar levels might drop too low and/or too high.
Small snacks for her help in controlling glucose levels at a favorable rate—thus allowing her to pitch on. So while the umpire carries a counter to keep track of balls and strikes, Garcia also keeps count as well.
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