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Mark Andrews

Type 1 Diabetes Success Story


NFL tight end Mark Andrews was 9 years old when he was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes.

He pricks his fingers to check his blood sugar approximately 30 times during a game. Off the field he uses an insulin pump and wears a continuous glucose monitor, which shares his blood sugar levels with family members, his agent and the team’s head trainer.

At 6-foot-5, 256-pounds, Andrews sticks to a steady diet, especially leading up to games, to keep his blood sugar from fluctuating.  The training staff provides separate bottles for him during games and practices with Gatorade Zero, which has no sugar or carbs, and doesn't affect his blood sugar levels.  If he goes low, he eats a pack or two of fruit snacks.  On the rare occasion he goes high, he'll reconnect his pump.

Andrews takes pride in raising diabetes awareness and being a role model for young people living with type 1 diabetes.  He tells them to always follow their dreams and not let diabetes affect them. 

When Andrews was younger, he would watch Chicago Bears quarterback Jay Cutler, who played 12 seasons in the National Football League, while living with type 1 diabetes.   

“I adapted a mindset that this disease is a part of who I am, but it’s not going to define me and it’s never going to stop me in achieving my dreams.  Type 1 diabetes is incredibly difficult, but I refuse to let it affect my job or my life in any way.”

Mark's photo and story can be found on the UMass Diabetes Center of Excellence Wall of Honor in the hallway leading to our patient care clinic on the 2nd floor of the Ambulatory Care Center at the UMass Memorial University campus. Other honorees include Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor, singer Nick Jonas, former Miss America Nicole Johnson, National Figure Skating Champion Kitty Carruthers, actress Mary Tyler Moore, National Hockey League player Max Domi and Major League Baseball Hall of Famer Lou Brock. 

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