The future is Bright for diabetic football players in the United Kingdom
In February 2017 The Diabetic Football Community (TDFC) was founded by Chris Bright. A type 1 diabetic himself, Chris wanted to create a safe and supportive community for people living with diabetes to enjoy football. There are currently around 400,000 people living with type 1 diabetes in the UK and 4 million living with Diabetes in total, whilst the UK also has the fifth highest rate of children with diabetes worldwide. There are currently no guidelines for people with diabetes in football, and no resources available to be accessed by those working with players who live with the condition.
Diagnosed at 8 years old in 1999, Chris was quick to recognise the lack of support for diabetic athletes. In April 2018, with the aim of creating the UK’s first all-diabetic futsal team to compete at DiaEuro, Chris set up the first all-diabetic training session at the University of Worcester. Many players that attended the session travelled upwards of 2 hours to get to the venue. Starting in Worcestershire and beginning with futsal, Chris wants to help embed awareness of Diabetes within sport with a strategic project plan for 2018 which is already well underway.
Alongside trying hard to create a safe environment for diabetic football players, Chris has also been working tirelessly to raise awareness of diabetes in the community. Earlier this year, Chris and University of Worcester student Ferenc Nagy, filmed and released a documentary focusing on a family who has been affected by diabetes. The documentary centres on the Andrewartha family and their son, Mitch, who lives with type 1 diabetes. It offers a valuable insight not only into the life of a young diabetic footballer, but also into how the condition can affect families and parents specifically.
The documentary is a reminder to all those who have been affected and an educator to those who have not, about the heart-breaking highs and lows that can occur when your child lives with diabetes. The moving documentary shows both parents with tear-filled eyes recounting how much of an impact the condition has had on their lives. To see more of the documentary visit: https://thediabetesfootballcommunity.com/2018/05/17/walkinourboots-24-hours-in-the-life-of-a-diabetic-footballer/
Since 2017, Chris has amassed an incredible amount of support and interest in TDFC. With over four and a half thousand social media followers across Facebook and Twitter and a network of strong links with local organisations such as the Worcestershire FA, Worcester Futsal Club, the University of Worcester, and the local NHS, TDFC has garnered local and national media attention.
DiaEuro is an all-diabetic European futsal competition that was first held after the 2012 European Championships in Ukraine. Supported by the International Diabetes Federation (European Region), teams from all over Europe compete, not only to win the competition, but also to prove that diabetes is not in control of their sporting careers, they are.
For more information about The Diabetes Football Community, tips for playing football with diabetes, or to read more about Chris’ journey, please visit: https://thediabetesfootballcommunity.com/