Caroline, 12, with coach Melissa Johnson
"My Coach Came to Me for Help"
By Caroline Rowley, 12, Texas
One day last spring, I went to a school track meet. It was a typical afternoon until my soccer coach, Melissa Johnson, came running up to me and said, "Caroline, come help!" A coach from another school was having a diabetes reaction.
A lot of people had gathered around him. He was acting so strangely, they thought he was crazy. He was obviously disoriented because of the hypoglycemia, and no one knew how to help him. Thankfully, a coach from his school said, "He has diabetes." That is when Coach Johnson said, "I know someone," and ran to find me.
I was pretty freaked out because there were all these people and he was obviously in a very bad situation. But I also knew that no one else knew what to do, so I'd better do the best I could.
I told them exactly what was happening and what to expect, then ran to my school nurse's office, where I keep my diabetes supplies. I told her what was going on as I went to my special drawer and grabbed a tube of glucose gel.
When I got back, I gave the glucose to the other coach and told him how to use it. My nurse had followed me and soon realized we needed 911. Someone located a doctor in the crowd who was able to help. Finally, EMTs arrived.
Everyone has made a big deal about what I did that day and how calm I stayed. I've been nominated for everything from school certificates to a Tony the Tiger Award. I was even surprised with a "You Are Our Hero" award at a JDRF gala.
It was very scary to me, though, and I haven't wanted to talk about it. I even cried myself to sleep that night. (My coach said she did, too!) I have never had a problem at school because of diabetes, but now I see that it could happen. It scared my coach and my nurse, too, so they talked with my mom about making sure we were doing everything we could to keep me safe.
It does make me feel good to know that I was able to help and that my coach and nurse trusted me to handle the situation. I feel like I was able to help when someone needed it. It also showed me how important it is that I'm open with my diabetes and have such good support at school myself.
Caroline shared her story in the Fall 2002 issue of C.F.K. magazine.