Prick. Test. Zip. Ally Fordham is now ready to play a soccer game.
Fordham plays for the Mercer University’s women’s soccer team, and she has Type I diabetes.
“It was a bit of a shocker when it came to me,” Fordham said about when she first found out she was diabetic. “Once I kind of got a grasp on it and saw other people living with it, I like told myself that that wasn’t going to stop me from what I wanted to do, because I knew that I wanted to go on and play college soccer.”
Fordham said she found out she was diabetic right before she started applying for college last year.
“It definitely crossed my mind for a minute like, ‘Will I be able to?’”
Fordham said she took a week to weigh her options and found that some professional athletes also have diabetes.
She said she knew right then “I could still do it.”
As a freshman, she became a starter on the team and was named a SoCon Player of the Week.
“I came into preseason, and I told myself that I just need to ... work really hard on the field, do everything that I can do,” Fordham said.
Fordham said being a diabetic has been a learning process, and she has had to adjust her life to manage it.
“There are some tough days, but it’s definitely like manageable as long as you’re like on top of things,” she said.
Fordham’s coach, Tony Economopoulos, said the team trainer monitored Fordham on and off the field to make sure her sugar remained at a healthy level.
“It’s a huge testament to her character to balance that with being an athlete and balancing her diet,” Economopoulos said. “She’s very positive, and she has an infectious attitude.”
Fordham said she checks her blood-sugar level before each meal and before and after each practice. On game days, she checked her blood sugar level before the game, during halftime, after the game and every hour after the game for two to three hours.
Mercer’s women’s soccer team ended its season Oct. 28 with a loss to Samford in the Southern Conference quarterfinals.
Fordham, from San Diego, California, said playing soccer “runs in the family.”
“My family had me playing soccer for as like long as I can remember,” she said. “I’ve just always loved it and continued to do it.”
After she graduates from Mercer with a mechanical engineering degree, Fordham said, she hopes to return to San Diego to work with companies “to help make special insulins and diabetic tools for Type I diabetics like myself.”