Competitive by nature, 16-year-old Hayley Crum won’t be slowed down by these life-altering diagnoses.
To the unknowing eye, 16-year-old Hayley Crum appears to be your average teenager with a talent for soccer. While her fierce competitiveness is impressive on its own, Crum’s determination to be a star athlete is even more remarkable as she has been diagnosed with two life-changing conditions: celiac disease and type 1 diabetes.
Crum was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes in 2007 when she was 11 years old. Shortly after, she learned she has celiac disease as well. While managing a diet for both conditions can be difficult, her father says living with celiac is more mentally challenging for her because of the difficulties it presents in social situations. Plus, athletes tend to require a diet that is higher in carbohydrates, which are commonly found in gluten-containing foods, so it is likely Crum faces additional difficulties in managing her diet and ensuring she is getting proper nutrition.
While the Frederick News Post points out athletes with diabetes are rare, some have successful careers, such as the Chicago Bears quarterback Jay Cutler. Crum’s father believes her competitive nature is what allows her to push through and defy the odds. “If she wasn’t that competitive, she probably would’ve hung her soccer cleats up a long time ago…Things come at her and try to knock her down, but she just constantly bounces back,” he said.
Crum is not alone in her double diagnosis, though. Research shows that 3-8% of people living with type 1 diabetes will have biopsy-proven celiac and will face an even more restrictive diet than those living with only one of the conditions. Luckily, with a little practice and education, people can manage both diets successfully. In fact, the National Foundation for Celiac Awareness is hosting a free webinar (sponsored by Vitacost) to share how-to tips for people living with type 1 diabetes and celiac disease on October 31.
Crum’s performance on the field suggests she’s mastered the balancing act of living with both conditions. Even with the odds against her, Crum’s soccer coach Brad Roos says she is one of the hardest working and toughest athletes he’s ever coached.
Read the rest of this inspirational teen’s story in the Frederick News Post.