Professional snowboarder Chris Southwell has a fantastic lifestyle but nearly had to give it all up when he was diagnosed with diabetes. Read this interview to find out more about how he doesn’t let his diabetes get in the way of his –extremely- active lifestyle.
When were you diagnosed?
Only four years ago – when I was 22.
Do you think it has affected your career as a professional snowboarder?
In a funny way, having diabetes has actually helped me to look after my body more than ever before. I’m very aware of what I eat and when, adjusting my carbohydrate intake so that I have enough energy for my sport, and I regularly test my blood glucose levels. As a result, I feel that my body is in ‘peak’ condition.
What support have you received since diagnosis?
Since my diagnosis, everyone around me has been incredibly supportive - naturally my family and friends, but also my colleagues in the ski world including my snowboard ‘riding partners’.
The medical team of doctors and nurse were also fantastic. I was always adamant that I wanted to continue to pursue my sport to the highest level – and the nurse team was happy to work with me to help me achieve that ‘dream’. They developed an individual programme that worked for me and my sport and took time to coach me through the plan. When I realised I had such support, it was a real turning point for me – and I truly believe it’s one of the reasons that I am where I am right now professionally.
How do you manage your diabetes when you’re snowboarding?
My carbohydrate intake is more important to me than ever since my diagnosis. I need to eat regularly and healthily to make sure I have a constant sugar-balance to see me through up to eight hours on the mountain every day. I also test my blood glucose levels up to nine times a day. I totally rely on the BREEZE®2 from Bayer Diabetes Care. To keep up the pace of my training programme and competing schedule, I need a meter that is speedy, accurate and convenient. No other meter has given me this level of freedom to manage my condition and perform at this level.
Does your sport prevent you from testing ever?
Thankfully, no. I find that the BREEZE®2 meter is really convenient and robust , so I can pretty much use it anywhere. I test before or after a race, on the mountain slopes, in the snowboard park, or up on the ski lift – and even put it to the test on extreme cliff jumps.
Are there any other features that are particularly important to you as a snowboarder?
Yes. The disc system holds ten test strips so I only load a new disc once a day... So, it lasts all day no matter what conditions I’m in! I get fast and accurate results from the No Coding™ technology and it allows me to make any adjustments and concentrate on my riding.
What one piece of advice would you give to other men with diabetes?
Don’t let diabetes control your life, you can control ‘it’.
If you click "Accept", you will be able to share this page with third party websites which may set or read cookies on your computer. These may contain personal information over which Bayer has no control. If you click 'Decline', share functions will remain disabled and therefore third party sites will not be able to set or read cookies.