Boston Cannons’ face-off man Chris Eck is not your average MLL athlete. With a sterling start to the 2011 season, the All-Star has won 106 of 179 face-offs, has 31 GBs, and 3 points, appearing in all six regular season games. In his fourth year with the league, Eck has been to the playoffs twice and hopes to bring the Cannons their first Steinfeld Trophy this year.
Aside from Eck’s impressive season stats, he is an advocate for diabetes awareness and hopes to support and educate athletes who have the glucose deficiency disease. His personal experience makes him one of the league's most inspiring athletes and he is kind enough to share his story to share the message that you don't have to retire your cleats if you are diabetic.
As if beginning his college lacrosse career at Colgate wasn't nerve wracking enough, Eck tore his ACL during the first half-hour of practice. In a twist of fate, he was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes only a month later. “The world felt like it was collapsing,” he said of the rocky start to the season.
But the innate competitor inside of him pulled him through the dark period. There was no question as to whether or not he’d return to the lacrosse field. “Someone would have had to tell me it was impossible to play,” he said.
It took time to find a balance between the new challenges of monitoring his health and the typical preparations athletes must undergo. “I’m still figuring it out, I don’t have it perfect but I’ve made it manageable enough both on and off the field and I hope to share that with other athletes.”
“I check my blood sugar close to 20 times a day to make sure I’m in a semi-normal range. When working out, I need to test my blood sugar even more often; between four and five times an hour. When I’m prepping for a game, I need to focus on more factors like travel and a normal diet; the elements are a little different when traveling and adrenaline can affect my blood sugar, too. During game time I check my levels before a game, every quarter, and after the game every 15 minutes or half-hour.”
Eck is dedicated to helping other athletes affected by diabetes in finding a similar balance and has worked closely with the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation (JDRF), the official charitable organization of the 2011 MLL All-Star Game to reach out to others.
“You need to realize that you’re different as early as possible, not just because of diabetes, but that you need to work harder than people to get what you want.” Eck says this advice applies to everyone.
“Whether it’s LeBron or Gretzky, they put hours and hours into what they do. Similarly, someone who’s diabetic needs to understand that they are a bit different and need to make adjustments. They need to condition or train that much more. My advice is to realize that you’re different, be OK with it, and power through it.”
Eck also says he drinks POWERADE ZERO to enjoy the hydration benefits of a sports drink without the calories. “I don’t have to worry about carbs or calories, I order about 50 – 100 at a time,” he said. Powerade ZERO is the zero calorie sports drink that is scientifically formulated with zero calories, B vitamins and the ION4 advanced electrolyte system.
You can watch Chris Eck in the 2011 Sports Authority MLL All-Star Game on Saturday July 9th at Harvard Stadium in Boston, MA. The game begins at 7:00pm and you can purchase tickets at (617) 746-9933 or by e-mailing firstname.lastname@example.org. The All-Star jerseys will be limited editions to be auctioned following the game in support of JDRF.
Do you have a similar story you’d like to share? Email Alysis Morrissey with your personal story and you could be featured on the MLL website and mentioned at the 2011 Sports Authority MLL All-Star Game.