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.

 

The University of Kentucky is increasingly the first choice for students, faculty and staff to pursue their passions and their professional goals. In the last two years, Forbes has named UK among the best employers for diversity, and INSIGHT into Diversity recognized us as a Diversity Champion four years running. UK is ranked among the top 30 campuses in the nation for LGBTQ* inclusion and safety. UK has been judged a “Great College to Work for" three years in a row, and UK is among only 22 universities in the country on Forbes' list of "America's Best Employers."  We are ranked among the top 10 percent of public institutions for research expenditures — a tangible symbol of our breadth and depth as a university focused on discovery that changes lives and communities. And our patients know and appreciate the fact that UK HealthCare has been named the state’s top hospital for five straight years. Accolades and honors are great. But they are more important for what they represent: the idea that creating a community of belonging and commitment to excellence is how we honor our mission to be not simply the University of Kentucky, but the University for Kentucky.