Mark Andrews wants to show kids they can play sports if they have Type 1 diabetes

Getty Images

The Ravens discussed plenty of things about tight end Mark Andrews before selecting him in the third round of this year’s draft, but coach John Harbaugh said that his Type 1 diabetes “wasn’t something that factored in to our consideration at all.”

Andrews was diagnosed as a diabetic when he was nine years old and he’s had some issues with it off the field, including a moment during his freshman year at Oklahoma when he was unresponsive due to hypoglycemia and needed medical attention. On the field, however, Andrews didn’t have any problems and scored 22 touchdowns over his three seasons with the Sooners.

That makes it easy to understand why Andrews feels those with Type 1 diabetes shouldn’t “let this disease define you” and it’s a message he hopes younger fans dealing with the disease embrace when watching him play.

“It’s definitely a part of who you are, but it shouldn’t be 100 percent who you are,” Andrews said, via ESPN.com. “That’s something I live by and I think strongly of. … A lot of people think that they can’t be athletic and it’s too hard to do it. For me, it’s just being the inspiration and showing kids that there is someone else who’s done it.”

Andrews continuously monitors his glucose levels, wears an insulin pump when he isn’t playing football and will have his blood sugar levels tested during practices in hopes of avoiding further issues with the disease. It’s something that others, including Jay Cutler, have had to deal with during their careers and the vigilance will hopefully keep it in the background as Andrews embarks on his professional career.