Lauren Cox — A Millennial Hero for Us All

A Type 1 diabetic playing top-level college basketball.

Despite adulation for sports stars, they are not “heroes” in the true sense of the word. Athletes’ on-field performance does not make them heroes. Their off-field exploits may. As may the way they live their lives.

A new hero for me is Lauren Cox. She is a 20-year old star woman’s basketball player for Baylor University. Her team  won the NCAA championship on Sunday in a close game. Lauren was hurt in that game, and missed the last quarter with a leg injury.

So, what makes her someone I admire? As a 25+-year diabetic (the last 4 as a virtual Type 1 diabetic), I know how tough it can be just to live well every day. In Lauren Cox’s case, to be able to play top-level basketball as a Type 1 diabetic, she has an insulin monitor on her at all times. Yet, she never complains or gets down about her condition.

As Lindsay Schnell reports for USA today:

“Lauren Cox swears it doesn’t hurt. But when she describes the act of getting her insulin tube ripped out, or having someone accidentally ram a knee or elbow into the insulin infusion point on her hip during a basketball game, it sounds extremely painful.” 

“’I mean at this point, I’m used to it,’ the 6′-4″ player for the Baylor women’s basketball team told USA TODAY Sports. And she plays while checking her blood sugar multiple times a game. And that,  makes her, according to longtime Baylor trainer Alex Olson, ‘just amazing.’”

“Cox is used to rough and tumble play — she actually picked college basketball over college volleyball because she prefers the physicality of hoops — and she’s used to playing with Type 1 Diabetes. She’s been doing it for 13 years.”

“Cox’s blood sugar is checked every five minutes by her Continuous Glucose Monitor. Using Bluetooth technology, her CGM sends the number to her insulin pump, a handheld device a little smaller than an iPhone, that connects a tube to an infusion port in her hip. During games, she tucks the pump into the side of her sports bra, and checks the number anytime she steps off the court. She and Olson are looking for a reading between 120-150; if it gets below 70 or above 300, she’s automatically pulled out of competition.” 

Go Lauren. Here’s hoping you have a full recovery from your leg injury. 🙂

Lauren Cox -- A Millennial Hero for Us All
(Photo: Raymond Carlin III, USA TODAY Sports)