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Question:

From Moorpark, California, USA:

My eight year old son, diagnosed with type 1 diabetes about two years ago, plays soccer, and when I told my son's soccer coach that my son would be late to practices because he has overlapping activities and needed to eat in between, the coach told me that my son would not play as long during the game as the other boys because he would be late getting to practices. I was also told that if my son were to have a severe low blood sugar and become unconscious or disoriented, they would not be able to administer soda or glucose tablets, etc. even though his coach is a fireman and is trained to do so when on duty. Does the Americans with Disabilities Act, or the 504 plan apply in after school organized sports situations (for example, the American Youth Soccer Organization)?

Answer:

If soccer is a school-sponsored activity or the league receives any kind of Federal funding, the laws certainly would apply. As I see this issue, there are two problems:

  1. The issue of being late to practice --- Personally, I do not see this first issue as one of discrimination. Is your son late for practice because he stops to eat, or is the real problem the overlapping activities? You can do one of several things. The first is to comply with the coach's rule that your son will not get to play as long in a game if he is late to practice. Secondly, you might be able to arrange for your son to have his snack at the earlier activity or after he arrives at practice. Lastly, you might want to think about the number of activities your son is involved in and make some decisions about priorities.
  2. The issue of treating lows -- This is a major issue and needs to be dealt with. I believe that not treating a low if needed is discriminatory. If you can't talk with your son's coach and devise a plan for treating them, you will probably need to go to league officials, perhaps with the assistance of your local American Diabetes Association affiliate. This does concern your son's safety and well-being, and, especially given the bad press of organized sports of late, should be able to be dealt with.
It is essential that all of us who care for children with diabetes try to recognize what is and is not discriminatory. Although we have made great strides, discrimination against people with diabetes does exist, and we must choose our battles wisely if we hope to make things better.

SS

DTQ-20010819024950
Original posting 27 Aug 2001
Posted to Other Social Issues

  
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Last Updated: Tuesday April 06, 2010 15:09:26
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