Entering his early 20s, Ryan Reed, who has Type 1 diabetes, was basically told that his dream of being a race car driver was over before it began. He finally and humbly, accepted his diagnosis of diabetes, but was unwilling to accept that he would never drive competitively again. Ryan is making it his mission to “never give up or give in”.
Along with Lilly Diabetes and the ADA (American Diabetes Association), Ryan Reed, the California native, uses his platform and fame to inspire, encourage and motivate young individuals with diabetes, as well as to educate everyone, and promote diabetes awareness.
It was February of 2011, when the definitive diagnosis came through, and it was a confusing time, because Ryan (like many others) was under the false belief that diabetes is a disease of the obese and/or elderly.
There was research to be done and obstacles to overcome, to get Ryan Reed back behind the wheel of his race car. Of course, altering his diet and exercise plan was at the top of the list.
Some other changes that Ryan Reed incorporated were to install an accurate glucose monitor to the dashboard of his car, so he is able to monitor his blood sugar levels while driving. Like everything else within the car, he needs to keep an eye on the numbers. Due to the fact, that the temperature inside a race car can reach 150 degrees, having an insulin pump is not a logical (or effective) option.
Another precaution is to have someone in his pit crew, ready and able to inject Ryan with insulin, if the need arises.
In addition, if sugar levels drop suddenly, Ryan has easy and quick access to a protein and sugar-based drink, thanks to a hose that is connected to his helmet.
Ryan says that it is important to be prepared and have safety measures in place, even if he has yet to use any of them as of date.