I Am A Hockey Player


| By Lou Cocco Jr. |

I was diagnosed on July 29, 2003 when I was 2 years old.  

According to my parents we were lucky to have realized there was something wrong when we did. My sugar was 583 mg/dl when I was admitted and I did not go into DKA (Diabetic ketoacidosis).

My parents and I spent 3 days in the hospital where they got a crash course in diabetes. 

They were then sent home with me (their 2 year old baby) a glucose meter, needles and insulin.  

So, 11 years later, here I am with type 1 diabetes and I have never known anything different.      


I am proud to say that I will not let diabetes stop me from doing anything I want to do. 

I am currently in 8th grade (now 9th grade) and...

I am a hockey player.

 I have wanted to play ice hockey for as long as I can remember.


I have grown to accept (but certainly am tired of and hate) the necessity of checking my sugar and giving myself insulin before meals and doing all the things that we need to do to manage while waiting for a cure.

It is part of me.

I have never thought once that this disease could ever stop me from doing what I love.  

I have been playing ice hockey for about 7 years now. I currently play on a DVHL Bantam team. Playing hockey with diabetes is hard. You have to go through the whole diabetes routine and still be ready for the game. You are trying to focus on what you are going to do better or about playing your position in the game but diabetes is always there to cause distractions. 

The preparation begins hours before a game.

We’re checking sugars, planning ahead, making specific meal selections knowing that certain foods cause havoc on my numbers. It is not something you can just brush off and not think about, you are forced to think about it because it is life and death

On my non-hockey days, I have to admit that sometimes I “forget” to manage my diabetes properly because my mind needs a break from thinking about it. It is taxing to be thinking about it 24/7.

That is a fun time during the day where I can almost convince myself that I don’t have this disease...

but when my parents ask “What’s your number?” I am ripped from my “diabetes-less” moment and thrown back into reality where I just go through the motions of an existence with it.  

For me, hockey and being on the ice is almost a safe haven and gives me a break from thinking about diabetes.

When I am on the ice with my teammates having a great time, I find peace from the struggle of living with it.  

I am blessed to have coaches and teammates that understand and keep me safe during my favorite sport and treat me no different from anyone else.

I’d like to share with others that diabetes should never be an excuse to stop you from doing something you love to do. I learned this at an early age from an old hometown hero; Bobby Clarke.  

Bobby Clarke is a Hall of Fame NHL player that won two Stanley Cups with the Philadelphia Flyers in 1974 and 1975.  He also has type 1diabetes and played with it during his hockey career.  

I can relate a lot to Bobby Clarke. He loves the Flyers just like I do and he played hockey with diabetes and its challenges.


Diabetes never stopped Bobby Clarke or me, so don’t let it stop you from doing what you love to do. 

Editor's Note: This piece was written by Lou prior to attending his first Dskate Hockey Program. Lou is an extraodinary young man who is an inspiration to all this #T1DHockey teammates out there and, like all of us, is chasing his dreams one shot at a time. Dskate is proud to have Lou and his family as members of our Dskate Ambassadors. 

To share your story or to learn how to become a Dskate Ambassador, email us.


Introducing Getting Pumped! by Michael Riddell, Ph.D

A guidebook for active individuals with diabetes

● Factors affecting performance

● Blood sugar levels & insulin requirements during exercise

● Inspiring stories of athletic accomplishments by individuals living with Type 1 diabetes

● Insulin pumps & exercise, and more...

"Whether you are a person living with Type 1 diabetes, a family member, a coach or a healthcare professional, I hope that Getting Pumped! provides you with information, inspiration and tools to help you lead a healthy and active lifestyle.”   – Dr. Michael Riddell, PhD

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Medtronic of Canada is a proud supporter of this guidebook