Diabetes doesn’t slow Chaparral teammates

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Jim Benton
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PARKER - Wil Keyser feared people would believe he was different when he was first diagnosed with diabetes.

Chris Moody had trouble acquiring a taste for diet soda.

Keyser and Moody are Type 1 diabetics and both are starters on the Chaparral basketball team.

Now, neither player is reluctant to admit they have diabetes, hoping that might encourage younger diabetics to participate in athletics.

“This will help little kids who might read this because they will see if we can do it, they can do it,” said Keyser.

Keyser was diagnosed with diabetes five years ago and uses a pump for the administration of insulin while Moody, who learned he was a diabetic three years ago, takes five shots of insulin a day with a pen.

Both players are religious about testing their blood sugar levels.

“I test every chance I get,” said Keyser. “I test before and after games. I always have Gatorade with me.”

Both players need to make sure sugar levels don’t dip too low during practices and games.

“The coaches know and I’m sure my teammates know,” said Keyser. “And Chris and I have each other’s back. If one of us forgets to bring Gatorade, the other will have some.”

Besides worrying about getting too low during games, the adrenalin rush before a game can raise blood sugar which could result in sluggish performances.

“Before the Denver East game I was nervous and had butterflies,” said Moody. “I really had to watch myself and took a test on the bench.”

Moody, a 6-foot-5 sophomore, is the team’s second leading scorer with a 12.3 scoring average and is the team’s top rebounder with a 7.6 average.

Keyser, a 6-5 senior, is averaging 8.3 points and 4.7 rebounds per game.

“They both are aware of what’s going on and they are like coach `I’ve got to go’ and they’ll leave practice for a quick second and come right back,” Chaparral coach Rob Johnson said. “They do a good job with the disease. It’s kind of been nonexistent.”

Johnson is pleased that Moody and Keyser are playing on his team.

“They are both 6-5 and are athletic,” he said. “Chris is a young upcoming star. He’s a really good player. Keyser is a third year starter so he’s had a heck of a high school career.”

Neither Moody nor Keyser were held out of athletics after learning they were insulin depended diabetics.

“When I look back I never hesitated to let Wil step back on the court after he was diagnosed, even though as a parent, it was scary,” said Wil’s mother Cathy Keyser. “But through education, I realized that athletics is a great thing as far as control. I guess the hardest part for Wil regarding basketball is managing his blood sugar level before a game and during the game to be at the right level and not be too high or low.

“Wil is truly my hero the way he lives with Type I diabetes and manages it. I think sometimes these things are only given to the people that can handle it. Being diagnosed with Type I is truly life changing.”