Badgers Kunin refuses to be sidelined by diabetes - WKOW 27: Madison, WI Breaking News, Weather and Sports

Badgers Kunin refuses to be sidelined by diabetes

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Per UW Athletics Per UW Athletics

MADISON, Wis. (WKOW) -- Leading the team in goals and tied for points, the Badgers men's hockey team sees a lot of promise from freshman forward Luke Kunin. But if you take a deeper look into the young star, you'll discover how a life-changing circumstance didn't keep him away from his life's passion.

Kunin has always had big aspirations on and off the ice, but none of those goals included a life threatening disease.

"I was up all night, couldn't sleep, "Kunin said after Wednesday's practice in McFarland, "Drinking a lot of water, going to the bathroom a couple of times a night. We knew something was wrong."

The diagnosis was type 1 diabetes, the rarest form of the disease that is generally found among children and young adults. Type 1 diabetics can't produce insulin, a hormone needed to help cells absorb glucose. Glucose, or sugar, provides energy to the body.  

Diagnosed in the middle of 6th grade, he and his parents worried how it would affect not just his life, but his dreams of becoming a professional hockey player. But putting up his skates was not an option and his first goal became mastering the disease. 

"Test my blood sugar all the time through out the day, before I eat, I take insulin shots depending on how much carbs I'm eating. Just really monitoring it."

The strict diet, the tests, and the exercise plans made Kunin wise beyond his years.

"He's an 18 year old going on 25, "Badgers head coach Mike Eaves said in a Monday press conference, "You may look at, he's got diabetes, and you might say "Jeeze, that's too bad. That's a tough thing to have as a young guy." But that's actually been one of his best teachers cause he's had to monitor himself, he has to give himself a shot. It's just about, something I have to do, I get it done."

Luke says staying on top of it is key.

"I know I have to do the best I can with it to perform my best on the ice."

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