Because two of his players are dealing with the ailment, GPS volleyball coach Paul Brock is well-versed about Type 1 diabetes. Hosting archrival Baylor today at 5:30 p.m., Brock and his team are making an effort to raise awareness - and money - to fight the disorder.
One of the Bruisers afflicted with what was previously known as juvenile diabetes is Brock's niece, senior Jordan Grant. The other is fellow outside hitter Kara Maynord, a junior who only last week made the decision to quit playing volleyball because of the pain caused by stress fractures in her lower extremeties. She does plan to bowl for the Bruisers this winter.
"Volleyball is a grueling sport on the feet," said Brock, who still considers Maynord a member of the volleyball team. "A big thing with a diabetic is foot care.
"She's also had a hurt shoulder and a fractured wrist. Diabetes slows down the healing process."
Maynord was 9 years old when it was discovered she had Type 1 diabetes.
Tennessee Tandem Tournament
Friday's pool-play schedule
4-GPS vs. East Ridge; Red Bank vs. Sale Creek; Notre Dame vs. Boyd-Buchanan; 5-Boyd-Buchanan vs. Oak Ridge; Cleveland vs. Oakland; Knoxville Catholic vs. Southeast Whitfield; 6-GPS vs. Knoxville Catholic; Red Bank vs. Cleveland; Oak Ridge vs. Notre Dame; 7-Notre Dame vs. Page; East Ridge vs. Southeast Whitfield; Sale Creek vs. Oakland; 8-GPS vs. Southeast Whitfield; Boyd-Buchanan vs. Page; Red Bank vs. Oakland; 9-Cleveland vs. Sale Creek; Page vs. Oak Ridge; Knoxville Catholic vs. East Ridge.
4-Ooltewah vs. Hixson; Walker Valley vs. Grace Academy; Soddy-Daisy vs. Bradley Central; 5-Riverdale vs. Stone Memorial; Walker Valley vs. Karns; Harpeth Hall vs. Nashville Christian; 6-Ooltewah vs. Harpeth Hall; Soddy-Daisy vs. Riverdale; Hixson vs. Nashville Christian; 7-Hixson vs. Harpeth Hall; Bradley Central vs. Stone Memorial; Karns vs. Grace Academy; 8-Ooltewah vs. Nashville Christian; Soddy-Daisy vs. Stone Memorial; Riverdale vs. Bradley Central.
4-Baylor vs. East Hamilton; Signal Mountain vs. Chattanooga Christian; 5-East Hamilton vs. Germantown; CCS vs. Farragut; 6-Germantown vs. Maryville; Signal Mountain vs. Farragut; 7-Maryville vs. Baylor; Brentwood High vs. Signal Mountain; 8-Maryville vs. East Hamilton; Brentwood High vs. CCS; 9-Baylor vs. Germantown; Brentwood High vs. Farragut.
"I hadn't even heard of it," Maynord said. "I didn't know what it was or anything."
Grant was 4 when she was diagnosed.
"I can't remember not having it," she said.
Type 1 diabetes can be controled with daily insulin injections that permit glucose inside the blood cells. Both girls use insulin pumps, which substitute for daily injections. However, they're unable to play volleyball wearing a pump.
Athletes with diabetes can avert emergency situations by making sure everyone around them is educated in recognizing symptoms and knowing how to respond. The athlete can tell when a problem is arising by knowing his or her own body and can then figure out what treatment is needed.
"I need to check my blood sugar after each game," Grant said. "I drink a lot of water. If my blood sugar gets low I drink Gatorade. If it's low I normally get really weak. If it's high I get sick."
An Oct. 27, 2009, report on ehow.com about diets for diabetic athletes explains that carbohydrates serve as energy for physical activity but are broken down into glucose by the body, making for a tough balancing act. The article also explains that athletes have higher calorie demands in general but still try to limit the amount of sugars and carbs introduced to their bodies each day.
"We live in a world with all kinds of treats they have not partaken in," Brock said. "It takes a lot of control and discipline most of us don't know about.
"I'm very impressed and motivated by these girls."
During warmups today the Bruisers will wear powder blue T-shirts specially made for the occasion. All the proceeds from admission will go to the local chapter of the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation. Additional donations are welcomed.
Brock said there are specific reasons GPS (10-12, 2-1) designated the Division II-AA East/Middle Region match against the Lady Red Raiders (17-4, 3-0) as its fundraiser.
"They're our biggest rivals," Brock said. "We wanted to have it when we expect our biggest crowd, and it's what we think may be one of our best games."
Tandem volleyball set
The Tennessee Tandem high school volleyball tournament, with 30 teams from across the state and one from North Georgia, will be held at three local gymnasiums this weekend.
Pool play at GPS, Ooltewah and Baylor begins Friday at 4 p.m. and resumes Saturday at 8 a.m. Single-elimination in the Gold bracket is set to begin at GPS and Baylor at 2 p.m. The Gold final is slated for 8 at GPS.
Ooltewah will host the Silver bracket, which also has single-elimination scheduled to start at 2 and conclude with the championship match at 8.