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Personal Stories

T1D Athlete Issac Traudt Scores Big in Sweet 16

During March Madness 2024, Creighton Bluejays number 41 is making the national spotlight for more than just being a leading scorer and taking his team to the Sweet 16; Isaac Traudt happens to be a T1D athlete and member of the Dexcom U.

 T1D Athlete Issac Traudt Scores Big in Sweet 16

About Isaac Traudt

Diagnosed at age four with type 1 diabetes (T1D), Traudt is no rookie managing the disease. For 16 years, he’s battled the highs and lows and never let his condition hold him back from his love of the game.

The son of Brandon and Christy Traudt, Isaac grew up in Grand Island, Nebraska, with one sister, Tia, who verbally committed to UNLV Volleyball in August of 2023. In his youth, Traudt participated in the JDRF One-Walk and hosted youth basketball clinics in his free time.

The two-time all-state high school player won Nebraska Player of the Year in 2022, averaging 23 points and eight rebounds per game during his junior and senior years at Grand Island High School.  

Moonshot NCAA

Before deciding on the University of Virginia, Traudt was also recruited by Gonzaga, North Carolina, Kansas, Michigan State, Texas, Oklahoma and Notre Dame.

Traudt redshirted for the University of Virginia Cavaliers in 2022-23 before returning to his home state of Nebraska to play for Creighton, one of the best teams in the Big East Championship. Bluejays coach Greg McDermott said Traudt will have four years of eligibility to play for Creighton.

Traudt’s career objective is to play in the NBA. The finance major also hopes to pursue a career in business. So far, Traudt said his biggest sports thrill is participating in the NCAA Tournament.

Fun Fact: Other noteworthy professional basketball players include former WNBA player Lauren Cox, former NBA players Chris Dudley, Gary Forbes and Adam Morrison, who won two NBA championships for the Los Angeles Lakers.

March Madness 2024

At six feet 10 inches and 235 pounds, the skilled forward has played in 28 of the Bluejays' games, shooting 43.6% on 3-pointers. Traudt set his career high with five 3-pointers and 18 points in a recent game against Central Michigan.

The third-seated Creighton Bluejays will play the second-seated Tennessee Volunteers on Friday, March 29. From there, the winner will play in the Elite Eight. In the 2022-23 season, Creighton finished in the Elite Eight with a 23-13 overall record.

Traudt’s T1D Advocacy

In addition to wearing his Dexcom during games, Traudt’s teammates and coaches are all aware of his diabetes. Traudt checks his blood glucose levels frequently, and if his blood sugar is low, he typically grabs some energy chews to raise his level.

Traudt told the AP News that several parents of recently diagnosed children have asked him to encourage their kids. “It’s just important for them to know their dreams can still be accomplished. They can still compete in their sports. I want to inspire them and show them you can play at the highest level.”

Fortunately for most athletes, technological advancements like insulin pens, insulin pumps, and continuous glucose monitors (CGMs) have made it easier to handle diabetes. It takes more diligence and accountability, but it’s a manageable disease. Traudt moved from multiple daily injections (MDI) to an insulin pump at age seven. He also wears a Dexcom CGM under his uniform.

Dexcom U Program

The Dexcom U Program, dubbed NIL for Name, Image and Likeness, supports and highlights college athletes with type 1 diabetes. The NIL arrangement for T1D athletes comes on the heels of the NCAA relaxing its amateurism policy to allow college players to receive compensation for promotional campaigns without losing eligibility.

Traudt said in a recent television interview that Dexcom supports the players by always ensuring they have the supplies they need. Whenever they’re running low, they ship them out the next day. He also hopes his platform will inspire kids like him who dream of playing on the big stage.

Traudt was one of 14 college athletes from universities across the country who made the Dexcom U team. The competitive sports team consists of football to basketball players, wrestling, lacrosse, track and field, volleyball, and cheerleading.

ESPN announcer Adam Schefter, whose wife was diagnosed with diabetes in 2002, helped launch Dexcom U in 2022.

Dexcom cited a recent company-sponsored survey that revealed that 43% of individuals with type 1 diabetes feel like quitting sports or physical activity after their diagnosis. The same study found that 50% felt their coaches and trainers treated them differently after learning about their T1D diagnosis.

Interesting Fact: In addition to Traudt, other high-level basketball players competing in the NCAA include Ari Long for the Washington Women’s Huskies, Shelomi Sanders with the University of Colorado, Spencer Legg of the Charleston Cougars, Miro Little with Baylor’s Men’s College, and Zeke Mayo of the South Dakota Jackrabbits.

Spreading the Word

The Dexcom player agreement is an in-kind contract in which Dexcom supplies the athletes with access to glucose monitors and sensors. In exchange for supplies, which is often covered by the players’ health insurance, the athletes use the Dexcom U platform to spread awareness, education, and inspiration. They are encouraged to share their diagnosis stories and promote the benefits of wearable CGM devices.

In addition to the competitors’ narratives, Dexcom also provides diabetes management tips and other resources for parents, teachers and coaches.

Playing it Forward

Traudt and other celebrity sports athletes play an important role in the diabetes community. As they know first-hand the anxieties, burdens and challenges T1D brings, they encourage others with chronic illnesses to press on and follow their hearts. Competing in a high-level sport is an obtainable goal.

The diabetes community is growing exponentially as far and wide as technological advancements are, so there is every reason to be hopeful. As these players pay forward the support and love they’ve received, their bravery makes it possible for others to follow in their footsteps.  

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