UK HealthCare

UK Baseball Player Using Type 1 Diabetes to Inspire Others

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UK baseball player Dillon Marsh at the Barnstable Brown Diabetes Center.
Dillon Marsh | Photo courtesy of UKAA
Dillon Marsh | Photo courtesy of UKAA
UK baseball player Dillon Marsh at the Barnstable Brown Diabetes Center.

LEXINGTON, Ky. (April 15, 2020) — "Diabetes did not stop me. I'm here."

That sums up the drive behind University of Kentucky baseball's Dillon Marsh as he works towards his goal of one day playing in the big leagues. "One of the reasons why I want to make it someday, is for the kids and families who are going through a hard time. And just let them know that look, I'm here. I'm at the peak of baseball."

Marsh received the Type 1 diabetes diagnosis at the height of his high school baseball career. He was in the process of being recruited by UK - but he was also dropping weight, his pitching speed was slipping, and he worried his dream of playing Division I college baseball was at risk. "I was concerned that since this is happening, maybe something with the scholarship is going to occur like maybe they are going to take it."

The now 20-year-old remembers being in the hospital in his home state of Pennsylvania back in the summer of 2018 and calling head coach Nick Mingione. "He reassured me that, 'Hey, we are sticking with you this entire journey. We are in it for the long run if you are in it for the long run'."

Marsh remembers having "grieving moments" every once in a while about his diagnosis. It was a learning experience and a lifestyle change. But with the support of family, friends, team and coaches, he knew he would be able to live out his dream. "The positive of this was I'm going to be a Division I baseball player. I'm going to able to impact kids and use my platform," explained Marsh.

A key factor in helping him live out his dream in Lexington is being able to rely on UK HealthCare's Barnstable Brown Diabetes Center.

Once deciding to come to UK, Marsh remembers getting in contact with his doctors at home as well as Coach Mingione about managing his diabetes while away from his family. "Thankfully Barnstable Brown is here," said Marsh, "It's definitely awesome to have something here and so developed."

The sophomore visits UK HealthCare's Barnstable Brown Diabetes Center whenever he needs something or to deal with unexpected challenges. Marsh says it boosts his confidence level in his diabetes management, "Knowing I have something here is reassuring. It's like that thing that if something goes wrong, I do have people here that I know I can count on."

"For him to be able to have a place where he can go-and his family knows and his coaching staff knows and his players know that he's okay and he's going to be taken care of – I think that brings everyone peace," said Coach Mingione.

Marsh says he knows first-hand how important diabetes education is and the vital roles educators play in a patient's journey. "They are going to teach you everything that they know about diabetes, but at the same time they're going to tell you it is going to be okay."

Marsh is living proof that diabetes doesn't have to slow you down or take away your dreams. He is an active advocate for diabetes awareness and hopes to help break down misconceptions surrounding the disease. "There's kids of all ages being diagnosed, and some of them are scared. To be that kind of light at the end of the tunnel for them and show them that everything that has happened up to this point has gone okay, even though I have Type 1 diabetes. It has not stopped me from doing anything. I'm still a Division I baseball player. I'm doing my best to succeed in the sport. It's not held me back."  

During the COVID-19 outbreak, the Barnstable Brown Diabetes Center is striving to meet your care needs. To comply with directives related to patient safety, we can see in the clinic only patients with urgent care needs. To limit the risk of exposure to the virus, patients can call the center to schedule a TeleCare visit with a provider. Diabetes Education services are also available through TeleCare.

 

As the state’s flagship, land-grant institution, the University of Kentucky exists to advance the Commonwealth. We do that by preparing the next generation of leaders — placing students at the heart of everything we do — and transforming the lives of Kentuckians through education, research and creative work, service and health care. We pride ourselves on being a catalyst for breakthroughs and a force for healing, a place where ingenuity unfolds. It's all made possible by our people — visionaries, disruptors and pioneers — who make up 200 academic programs, a $501 million research and development enterprise and a world-class medical center, all on one campus.   

In 2022, UK was ranked by Forbes as one of the “Best Employers for New Grads” and named a “Diversity Champion” by INSIGHT into Diversity, a testament to our commitment to advance Kentucky and create a community of belonging for everyone. While our mission looks different in many ways than it did in 1865, the vision of service to our Commonwealth and the world remains the same. We are the University for Kentucky.