Duvall Q&A highlights Diabetes Day at GABP; Reds outfielder diagnosed as Type 1 in 2012

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During the 2016 baseball season, Reds left fielder Adam Duvall was on deck at Busch Stadium in St. Louis when a fan from the stands started yelling at him. “Why do you have your cell phone in your back pocket?” the man shouted.

Duvall calmly turned around and responded: “It’s an insulin pump. I’m diabetic.”

Adam Duvall

The following day, before Cincinnati’s next game against the Cardinals, Duvall received a request from a teenage girl who was in the crowd and heard the exchange the previous day. She was hoping to talk with Duvall.

“She had been struggling with diabetes for a while and she wrote me this long note about how she never thought that she was normal because she had (diabetes),” Duvall said. “They brought her down outside the clubhouse. I talked to her and her parents. It’s good to share stories … that people can overcome the stereotype of not being normal because you’re diabetic.”

Those kinds of interactions are gratifying to the 28-year-old cleanup hitter.

The Reds are partnering with St. Elizabeth Healthcare to host Diabetes Day at Great American Ball Park on Saturday, Sept. 16 for a 4:10 p.m. game against the Pittsburgh Pirates. Duvall, diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes in 2012, will hold a Q&A session the morning of the game for the first 200 fans who purchase through a special offer. Additional details will follow for those who qualify.

St. Elizabeth’s Regional Diabetes Center will have a table in the Kroger Fan Zone as part of a resource fair that includes other Diabetes Day partners Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center, Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation and the American Diabetes Association.

“I’ve embraced the role that I can have a positive impact on kids with diabetes,” Duvall said. “To me, it would almost be a wasted opportunity for me to not do that. I’m a person who wants to better people’s lives any way I can. I feel like I’m being presented with an opportunity and I should make the most of it.”

Duvall is not so comfortable as a public speaker. He grew up in Louisville as part of a hard-working, humble, Kentucky family. He enjoys engaging with fans, but he is not enamored with being a so-called presenter.

“My mom and dad will do anything for anybody,” he said. “They’ve always told me to treat people like you would want to be treated. We didn’t have a lot of money when I was a kid, but they worked their butts off to give us what we wanted. I saw that as a kid. That ingrained in me that you should always work hard for what you want, and if you want it bad enough you can get it.

“I’ve always looked up to my parents. They are just great people all around.”

Duvall works hard to back up his words. He said that in most cities in which the Reds play, he will invite down to the field kids with diabetes and talk to them. He discusses eating healthier foods, monitoring his carbohydrate intake and knowing what raises his blood sugar and what doesn’t.

When he meets with kids, he gets all kinds of questions.

What kind of pump do you use?

How do you insert the tubes?

Do you use numbing cream?

Do you eat sweets?

And when it’s time to take pictures, Duvall likes to stand next to a kid and both pull out their insulin pumps for the photo.

“I think that’s pretty cool,” he said. “It’s something we can relate to.”

He uses an insulin pump to regulate his blood sugar levels. During games, he cuts a slit in his back pocket and runs the tubing through it. “I don’t even know it’s there,” he said. It’s made from the same material as bicycle helmets. He said he has never broken one, even sliding on it.

In the 2012 offseason, Duvall was waking up five or six times a night to go to the bathroom. He was thirsty all the time. And he lost 20 pounds.

“I was kind of scared,” he said. “I wanted to know what was causing all those issues.”

In an odd way, he was excited and relieved when he was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes. At least he knew what was wrong and could start to address the issue.

He worked to regain his weight, and he attended diabetes classes. He educated himself as much as possible and recommends that to anyone diagnosed with any type of diabetes.

Duvall refuses to let his disease impact his dream of playing professional baseball. He knows that families, friends and even doctors may sometimes make it sound like a diabetic should limit his or her activities.

That’s not how Duvall thinks.

“The advice that I would give to kids with juvenile diabetes is: Don’t let it get in your way. Don’t let anyone tell you that because you have a certain condition that you can’t do something, because you can,” he said. “Trust me, you can.”

To purchase one of the limited number of tickets for the Duvall Q & A, order at www.reds.com. Anyone who purchases a ticket for Diabetes Day is invited to participate in a pregame parade; meet at 3 p.m. in the Kroger Fan Zone.

From St. Elizabeth Healthcare

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