College Basketball Standout Overcomes Celiac Disease

March 8, 2011

College Basketball Standout Overcomes Celiac Disease

Inspiring story of Utah’s Diana Rolniak, featured in local news.

Heading off to college can be a challenge for any student with celiac disease, especially if they happen to be newly diagnosed…..and an athlete.

But that’s exactly what happened to Utah sophomore basketball standout Diana Rolniak, whose moving personal story was recently featured in her local newspaper, Deseret News.

“I just took it head on,” Rolniak said of her July 2008 diagnosis. “I had already committed to Utah, and I just took it on as a new challenge in my life.”

Prior to receiving a diagnosis and arriving at college, Rolniak experienced intense digestive symptoms, and even led the 6 foot 4 inch athlete to drop below 100lbs!

Now, Rolniak diligently and confidently manages her gluten-free diet, and understands how critically important her diet affects her health…and her playing. In order to perform at her best, the highly active student athlete strives to take in nearly 6,000 calories a day!

From Deseret News:

“After living in a group setting to start her freshman year, Rolniak has since set up specific living arrangements in order to prevent cross-contamination, including living alone and turning herself into a chef.

‘I have to have a lot of control over my food; I do most of my own cooking,’ she said. ‘When I did have a roommate, I spent most of my time making sure things were kept clean and things were kept separate. It’s kind of a consuming process.’

Traveling with the basketball team adds another dimension to the daily grind. Fortunately, more and more restaurants have begun offering gluten-free menus.

‘On the road, we’ve figured out the restaurants that cater to gluten-free … that she’s comfortable with,’ Levrets said. ‘And all of the hotels we stay in, we make sure they’re able to prepare gluten-free meals to go along with our pregame meals.’”

What’s more, Diana’s celiac diagnosis has further inspired her to pursue a career after college and basketball….in medicine!

“For me, it’s about making a difference for other people. I’ve been blessed with so much, and I definitely feel called to do this, and I can help a lot of people doing this. It’s something I’m really passionate about.”

To read this fantastic celiac story of Diana Rolniak, click below: