With the start of the major league baseball season, I’m thinking about the Washington National’s first baseman Dmitri Young. He was the National’s only 2007 All Star and the National League’s Comeback Player of the Year in 2007. This year during spring training he struggled to hold on to his position against Nick Johnson who is back this season after a broken leg in the Fall of 2006. Despite a decent spring training, Young’s position may have been jeopardized by his physical condition. He reportedly was up to 298 pounds when he started spring training this year and he suffered from a strained muscle in his side early in camp.
In the National's first game, Dmitri Young started the season on the bench. Getting play time may be the least of Young’s challenges this year. Most important to this blog is the challenge he’s faced since 2006 when he was reportedly hospitalized for three days due to complications from type 2 diabetes. According to a March 5th Washington Post article he continues to struggle with diabetes. I applaud Young’s honesty about his struggles. Instead of glossing over diabetes he offered up thoughts on how hard it is to manage the disease. Heroic success stories of star athletes can make diabetes look easy (think Gary Hall, Adam Morrison or even Bobby Clarke). Now anyone living with diabetes knows managing it is never easy. Young is showing us all the real deal. Click here to see what he had to say to the Washington Post about diabetes earlier this month
Young is showing some of the dark challenges of diabetes --challenges even players with the best trainers have to confront. He’s gained a lot of weight. He reportedly is struggling with four insulin shots a day. It’s not an easy disease and the life of a major league baseball player can be grueling.
I wish Dmitri Young a heroic season. Beyond baseball, I wish Dmitri Young a long life and the fortitude to do what he must to overcome the diabetes. I hope he finds his way to blogs like Dave Mendosa’s. And I hope he finds a support system that doesn’t get him into shape just for the baseball season, but keeps him in shape and in control of diabetes 365 days a year.
Young had a great season last year coming back from bad press and health challenges, hopefully he’ll live up to last year’s promise. I wish him a great season and years of health. Play ball!
Published On: April 07, 2008