"Ultimately, it's not going to hold me back" - Phillies General Manager Sam Fuld (Classic Episode)
"Ultimately, it's not going to hold me back" - Phillies General Manager Sam Fuld (Classic Episode)
The Legend of Sam Fuld was born during his days in the minor leagues and when he played for the Oakland A's and in Tampa Bay. It involved his wild dives and seeming willingness to do whatever it took to make the play. Earlier this year, Fuld became the General Manager of the Philadelphia Phillies. Sam Fuld was diagnosed with type 1 at age ten and first spoke to Stacey in 2016. In this classic episode he shares his story, what he did as a player to manage his blood sugar, and This podcast is not intended as medical advice. If you have those kinds of questions, please contact your health care provider. ----- available to Diabetes Connections listeners! ----- Get the App and listen to Diabetes Connections wherever you go! Episode Transcription: Stacey Simms 0:00 This episode of Diabetes Connections is brought to you by inside the breakthrough. A new history of science podcast full of Did you know stuff like does snake oil actually contain snakes? If you're intrigued by science get excited about the process of discovery and one of the best stories that your next dinner party inside the breakthrough is the show for you. Announcer 0:25 This is Diabetes Connections with Stacey Simms. Stacey Simms 0:31 Welcome to a classic episode of the show where we take a look back at stories of connection that you may have missed the first time around. I'm your host, Stacey Simms, and of course, the emphasis is still on educating and inspiring people with diabetes with a focus on those who use insulin. This time around, you're going to hear from the legendary Major League Baseball player Sam Fuld diagnosed with type one at age 10. I first spoke to Sam in 2016, when he was playing with the Oakland A's. He retired as a player in 2017. And he was just recently named the general manager of the Philadelphia Phillies. If you're not familiar with Sam fold, I say legendary because and you'll hear us talk about this. There was a time when he was known for these incredible plays in the outfield where he would just throw his body into walls, he would make these dives that to me, the mom looked painful. And I linked up one of the many videos made by fans, you can check that out in Diabetes Connections, the group on Facebook, but Sam is a lot more than the legend. He also has a terrific program, a coaching program for kids with type one. I will let him tell you more about that. But I will link up the information in the show notes. And I will talk about that after the interview as well. Because you know of course in 2021, it looks a little bit different. Please remember this podcast is not intended as medical advice. If you have those kinds of questions, please contact your health care provider. This episode of Diabetes Connections is supported by inside the breakthrough a new history of science podcast, the 2021 is the 100th anniversary as most of you know of the discovery of insulin. It is arguably the biggest scientific discovery in Canadian history. This series examines that moment and many others through the lens of Canadian researchers trying to find what's next for the fight against diabetes. The host, Dan Riskin, has a great following you may know him from many years of hosting primetime Discovery Channel shows. He's also really funny. He's appeared on a lot of late night shows and he wrote the book, Mother Nature is trying to kill you. We've got a link to inside the breakthrough over at Diabetes connections.com. And of course you can find it wherever you listen to podcasts. When I'm doing these classic episodes, I have reaching back to the people featured in them for a comment and update, you know, to let them know that we're bringing the interviews back out and see if there's anything they can add and Sam Fuld was kind enough to correspond with me. And I did send to him congratulations on the amazing new job as General Manager for the Phillies. And I asked him if he could give us a diabetes update. So here's what he said, quote, “Hey, Stacy, I am really enjoying my new role. I am trying to learn and achieve as much as possible as we enter spring training. I'm surrounded by a lot of experienced co workers and have been leaning on them extensively throughout the past few weeks. Time is precious these days. So I'm really grateful for my Dexcom G6. Next up is a transition away from insulin pens, and toward an insulin pump. I'm really excited about experimenting with one of the hybrid closed loop systems.” So that's the update from Sam, as you'll hear the interview, he was not using an insulin pump. And of course I told him he can just jump in Diabetes Connections, the Facebook group and learn more from all of you. So let's see if he pops up. All right, here's my interview from February 2016. All right, my guest today is Sam fold. He was diagnosed type 1 diabetes at age 10. after he'd already made up his mind to play professional baseball, as you likely know, he got there playing first with the Cubs than at Tampa Bay. And now with the Oakland A's. It was while in Tampa that Sam started his weekend camp for kids with diabetes, teaching them as he's learned that diabetes shouldn't hold you back. As a mom of a kid who plays baseball has type 1 diabetes. I'm really excited to talk to you, Sam fold. Welcome to Diabetes Connections. Sam Fuld 4:31 Hey, thanks for having me. Stacey Simms 4:32 Can we start kind of by going back before you were even diagnosed? You were really into baseball is what I've read. Is that right? Sam Fuld 4:41 Oh, yeah, yeah, baseball was. I really can't remember a time where I didn't love baseball. I was I was probably four or five years old when I realized like, oh, man, this is my favorite sport. I mean, I played every sport imaginable grown up but there was something about baseball that I just really loved and I think it was better Added to then the other sports was okay, the other ones. But for some reason I was better in baseball I think that probably helped contribute to my passion for but I think it worked hand in hand. I was good at it because I loved it. And I loved it even more because I was good at. Stacey Simms 5:14 So not too many years later than you found out you had type 1 diabetes, what happened? Do you remember your diagnosis? Sam Fuld 5:21 vaguely. I mean, luckily, it wasn't anything too scary. I mean, it was essentially an accumulation of a couple months of symptoms. And there's no type 1 diabetes in my family at all. So my parents didn't really know what was going on. They just something was going on. And, you know, I showed all the classic symptoms of going to the bathroom all the time and being thirsty and losing weight. You know, I was 10 years old and lost 10 pounds over the summer. So my parents didn't take them too long to figure out something was wrong. So I think I remember going into the doctor and you know, it was about a 480, which obviously is pretty high, but certainly not really high. When you when you compare it to some of the other numbers that diagnosed diabetics get. So you know, it wasn't anything too scary, luckily, and we all knew right away what what the deal was, Stacey Simms 6:09 what was the deal? I mean, how did it change your life? And this was, I'll call it a generation ago, let's say your diagnosis, right, like 20 years ago. So how did it change your life? This wasn't a time when people were automatically going on an insulin pump and getting a Dexcom Sam Fuld 6:23 No, not at all. No, I don't even think pumps were on the market. At that point. It was certainly not an option. And yeah, I just remember well, so I was at an age where I could be pretty independent with it. So I remember my parents helped me out with with my injections for the first few months after being diagnosed. And but shortly thereafter, I was really independent. And I you know, I had the old old school syringe and the vials and my meter. You know, I think it probably was like a 25 second countdown. So which is an eternity nowadays, but it wasn't too bad. I mean, it wasn't like reading the color of a urine sample. Right? Stacey Simms 6:59 Nobody was sharpening the needles. Sam Fuld 7:02 Yeah, so somewhere in between, like ancient diabetes and current diabetes treatment. I was so naive. I didn't know what I had. No, you know, I think my uncle had a cat with diabetes. And that was about all I knew about. So I really, in some ways, was naive and a little ignorant. And I just thought, okay, God, I figured it was kind of like having asthma. Like I had asthma at the time. And I was like, Okay, I guess it's another thing to deal with. And I guess that naivete kind of helped me in some ways. Stacey Simms 7:29 Yeah. Well, it's good to not know what you can't do. Did you ever think you couldn't play baseball? Sam Fuld 7:34 No, no, I was lucky. I mean, the the medical staff was really positive and supportive, and my family and friends are really supportive. So it really never crossed my mind. It would hold me back, I think I was lucky to be surrounded by some really supportive people. And I, you know, I think it wasn't until months or years after I was diagnosed, that I heard this stigma that maybe diabetes could hold you back, or that that was even a thing. So I think, again, I was lucky that the first thing that popped in my mind was okay, nothing's gonna change, you're gonna have to see me a big pain in the butt potentially. But, you know, ultimately, it's not gonna hold me back. Stacey Simms 8:11 And you mentioned you had asthma. Do you don't have Sam Fuld 8:13 to do that? No, I was kind of like an exercise induced as it was. I sort of grew out of it. My dad is as one goes. Yeah, I don't know. It's, um, I would put the time I was like, using an inhaler occasionally. But no, luckily, that's a non issue at this point. Stacey Simms 8:28 Yeah, I was gonna say that's a lot to deal with. But you've mentioned that you had some great inspiration shortly after your diagnosis, because there have been other professional ballplayers with type one. Sam Fuld 8:40 Yeah, there have not too many. But you know, I think in back then, when I was diagnosed, it wasn't like, you could just hop online and Google like type one diabetic baseball players, you know, kind of word of mouth. So I know about rod Santos, the Chicago Cubs. Great. And then I had a family friend, at the time was a pitching coach for the Boston Red Sox. And he knew of Bill gullickson, who was a longtime Major League pitcher. And so when I was about type one himself, and when I was about 12, you know, year and a half after being diagnosed, my family friends set up this sort of meeting on the field at Fenway Park, when when Bill was in town pitching for the Tigers, and I got to meet him and you know, it was like a two minute conversation and but that really kind of went a long way I was I knew he existed, but to really meet meet him face to face, it kind of gave me an extra bit of motivation. Stacey Simms 9:29 I think that's so important. Because as you said, no one sat you down a diagnosis and said, well, son, your dreams of baseball are done. This is not going to happen for you. And a lot of kids in in my son's generation, don't worry about that either. They're not really told anymore. This is going to hold you back. But being you know, kind of hearing that and then seeing and meeting somebody who's done that is a big difference is that one of the reasons I would assume that talking to Bill gullickson really cemented it for you why you now talk to these kids. Sam Fuld 10:00 No doubt, no doubt. I mean, I remember that moment. You know, it was 22 years ago, 2122 years ago, but I remember it like it was yesterday. And I definitely impacts the way I, you know, I go out of my way to meet other kids with type one. So I think yeah, that that moment was so invigorating to me, and I'll never forget it. Part of the inspiration for the camp that I do and and all the interaction I have with with young type ones. Stacey Simms 10:26 Well, let's talk about the camp in a little bit. But I do want to focus on I mean, the way you play baseball, that crazy first season in 2011, when you had all of those, the jumping and the diving and the YouTube videos, Was that fun for you? Instead of crazy here, because I'd also like to talk to your mom, I was worried about you getting hurt. so silly. Unknown Speaker 10:50 That like, Sam Fuld 10:52 I can't speak for my mom. She was probably willing to deal with like the whiplash that I got on all those guys. I think she got a pretty good kick out of that whole run to know I loved it. It was an amazing, amazing part of my career in life. Really, it was, it happens so quickly, you know, I was kind of, I just come over to the rays from the Cubs in a trade. And, you know, I had a little bit of big time with the cubs. But this was like my first opportunity that first time making the team out of spring training, you know, but even at that point on opening day, I was like, essentially, the last man on the team, you know, it's like the fifth outfielder and didn't envision really playing a whole lot. I was just kind of thrilled to be on the team. And Manny Ramirez retired. And that kind of thrust me into like the starting role. And I just kind of ran with it. And the next few weeks, were just like this crazy, wild ride. And I guess I'm lucky I had the perspective, I guess I know enough perspective to try to enjoy the moment as crazy as it was. There were moments I was able to like, sit back and just go oh my gosh, life is crazy right now. But this is fine. Stacey Simms 11:59 It's great. And I if as you listen, if you haven't heard about this, I will link up the legend of Sam fold and some of the videos that came out of that season. A lot of fun. But tell me about your your routine, if you could, I had a lot of questions from people who wanted to know as a professional athlete, how do you do it with type 1 diabetes? How do you take care of yourself? You don't if you don't mind getting a little personal here to kind of share maybe a game day routine or how you take care of at all? Sure. Sam Fuld 12:27 Well, I mean, I'm sort of an old school diabetic I use my Lantus and novolog pens, and I don't use a CGM, nor pump obviously. And that's just worked for me. I've been I've been using these pins last 10 years or so. And I really, I find that they work well for me. So I do my lantis at night, once once a night, I wish I could draw up like a typical game day for you unfortunately, like they're not none of them are typical there every day is different. And, you know, we play seven o'clock games, we play one o'clock games, we play three o'clock games, you know, we play in New York on East Coast time we play in Oakland, obviously, we play you know, we're in different time zones throughout the year. So really, if, if there's a typical day, it's that I'm changing something. And you know, we're exposed to different foods in the clubhouse, you know, we get fed really well in a clubhouse, but there aren't exactly nutrition, nutritional labels on everything that we eat, you know, it's a lot of like, catered food that that's brought in, and you just, it's a lot of it is a guessing game. So that being said, You know, I do try my best to, you know, maintain some sort of routine and as best as I can. So if it's a night game, which I'd say about two out of three games that we play or night games, I'll just try to have like a, you know, oatmeal is like my go to in the morning. I love oatmeal, maybe a little fruit in the morning. And then sort of snack is needed until lunchtime. And I'll I love going to like a turkey sandwich with some fruit, maybe some vegetables and hummus, something like that pregame and then play at seven and then we eat after. I mean, we haven't crazy when you're diabetic or not. We are on a crazy schedule. You know, your launch is like five o'clock and your dinner is 11 o'clock at night. Stacey Simms 14:20 My son would think that sounds fantastic. You definitely have dinner at lunch or dinner at five and then dinner lunch again. Yeah, Sam Fuld 14:28 that's great. Until the next day, you have to wake up at like seven eight o'clock game and then you're back to like normal life. So yes. Stacey Simms 14:35 Do you just test a lot more? Do you check a lot more? Sam Fuld 14:37 Yeah, I tend to I mean yeah, whenever Yeah, I think I mean I test a lot regardless, but I particularly during games and yeah, just during the season, I'm checking quite a bit. So you know, typical game, I'll probably check at least three times during the game. I think. On average, I'm up about eight checks per day. Stacey Simms 14:56 And this is totally nosy so tell me to buzz off is the no pump thing. Comfort thing, or is it also like your, you know, your diving and jumping and running around? Sam Fuld 15:03 Yeah, I think it's a little of both. You know, I experimented one a couple years ago in an offseason and shoot every kid I talked to loves them, you know, and I hear nothing but great things about them. So I thought I'd give it a shot. I owed it to myself to try it. And I, I definitely found some benefit to it. But I also just didn't like that foreign body attached to me. And I was worried that if I were to wear one during a game, then it would become a bit of a hazard. So yeah, and I think if I were struggling more with my treatment, currently, I would be more compelled to change, but I just don't really comfortable the way. Stacey Simms 15:39 One of the things I wanted to ask you about. And this is kind of silly, but it's from my son's perspective, I wanted to ask you during his baseball games, and he's 11 years old, we can see because he wears a CGM, that when he's at bat, or when there's a big play, you can watch the adrenaline spike. It's pretty wild. And I'm curious if you have dealt with that kind of thing. And how you deal with perhaps post game highs that are adrenaline highs? Sam Fuld 16:08 Yeah. Oh, it's really one of the bigger challenges. I mean, especially I, I've had a lot of games where you know, I won't, I won't start, and I'll be on the bench. And all of a sudden, in the eighth inning, I'm called upon a pinch hit. And like, so you go from kind of very relaxed mindset, you know, you try to anticipate these changes being made. So your adrenaline gets going around the sixth seventh inning, you try to get your body loose in case you are called upon. And then but then you just can't predict that sort of that huge adrenaline spike and that blood sugar spike, when you're called upon to pinch it or even pinch Ron, or whatever it may be. And so I mean, I'll be right where I want to be in the low mid one hundreds. And then I got like, 20 minutes later, I mean, 300. And it's unbelievable. Can you just can't it's really tough to control. But yeah, you did you do the best you can. And it's one of those things that just in some ways, it's difficult to combat. And but I'd rather be a little on the high side and on the low side, obviously. So and then, you know, after the games are crazy, because then you get that letdown, essentially, you know, I'll eat an entire meal, a big meal after a game and not even need any novolog just because I've got all that adrenaline wearing off. And then you get those crashes. And you need carbs. Just to keep you aboveboard. Stacey Simms 17:28 Yeah, it's been an interesting learning experience for us over the years of baseball as he's gone from Little kid playing to bigger kid playing...