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St. Louis Cardinals Pitcher Jordan Hicks On Managing His Type 1 Diabetes

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St. Louis Cardinals relief pitcher Jordan Hicks calls himself the “diabetic phenom.”

That’s the Xbox identity he chose for himself — it gives him a warrior mentality. Diabetic Phenom is now a larger brand he’s launching to spread awareness and empower those living with diabetes. Known for throwing baseballs over 100 mph, Hicks is meeting the challenge of diabetes with the same intensity. “Whatever I want to do, I’m going to get it done,” he says.

Hicks was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes back when he was 17. At the time, he told his mother he wasn’t feeling well, he had lost 30 pounds in three months, had dry mouth, and frequent urination. His doctor suspected diabetes and sent the high school junior to the emergency room where he spent the next five days getting his glucose levels stabilized.

A treatment regimen

He didn’t let the diagnosis hold him back. He started using insulin pens for daily injections and soon gained his weight back and grew stronger. He continued to play high school baseball and was drafted by the Cardinals in 2015.

When he was in the minor leagues, Hicks was a starting pitcher and had to check his blood sugar every inning. At times his blood sugar would spike or go down very quickly. He was always monitoring his condition, including being prepared with snacks and insulin pens.

Then, when Hicks had Tommy John surgery on his elbow in June 2019, his doctor recommended getting his diabetes under control by using an insulin pump. That’s when the pitcher started using the Medtronic insulin pump system.

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The discreet wearable device delivers insulin through a tube directly into his body. The pump delivers insulin to Hicks based on what his body needs.

“It definitely works for me and it’s made my life easier,” he says, explaining he no longer needs to self-administer insulin through pens. “This is connected to me.”

While he had heard of pumps before, Hicks didn’t use them because he thought they were too complicated. “I thought it was more responsibility, when it’s actually less,” he says. “I don’t want to remember life without it.” 

Hicks would tell others with diabetes to do their research and ask questions about technology options, and to not be afraid of technology being more responsibility. “You just need to trust it,” he says. 

Off season

The 24-year-old opted out of playing major league baseball in 2020 due to COVID-19. Having diabetes is a pre-existing condition and makes him high-risk. Hicks says the team and fellow players were respectful and supported his decision. 

“It was just a tough decision for me, but I ended up thinking it was the best thing for my health and my career,” says Hicks.

Hicks is eager to get back on the mound. During the off-season, he’s working out and throwing several days a week. He’s eating healthy meals too, with a focus on protein. 

He’s focused on being his best self and inspiring others. 

“I’m just trying to be a voice for people that have this condition and give them an example to look up to,” he says.

He also encourages kids and adults to find their passion: “Just keep living every single day and grinding for that,” he says. “Thrive to be a better person than you were the day before.”

To learn more, visit www.medtronicdiabetes.com/ASK


Important Safety Information 

Successful operation of insulin infusion pumps required adequate vision and hearing to recognize alerts and alarms. Rx required. Please visit http://www.medtronicdiabetes.com/about/safety.html for additional details.

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