Fairfield Prep's White 'just like every other kid'
Updated 12:54 am, Sunday, February 3, 2013
BRIDGEPORT -- Most hockey players are quick to defer credit to their teammates. In David White's case, he does that on and off the ice.
White, among the state's best high school players as a senior with Fairfield Prep, has had type 1 diabetes since he was 3 years old.
"We've got a lot of great kids over there (in the dressing room), great friends," said White, 18, who lives in Fairfield. "They help me. They know all about it."
"Everyone has challenges," said White's father, Randy. "Some people have more serious challenges, some less. We never wanted it to get in the way of what he hoped to do. Chase a dream and let it go where it wants to go. That was (David's mother, JoAnne's) saying from Day 1."
David was diagnosed at age 3. He remembers, even at that young age, being a little nervous about it.
"My parents would tell me, `You're just like every other kid,'" he said.
"My parents taught me it's not a big deal. They've always made sure it doesn't affect me."
Like his older brother, Darric, David is a standout in both hockey and lacrosse for the Jesuits. He has to keep an eye on his health in both.
He keeps a test kit nearby, and checks his blood sugar often.
"Four or five times before the game to make sure I'm in the right spot," White said. "The optimal range is 80-120 (milligrams per deciliter). I try to stay within that. A little higher's fine. You don't really want to go lower."
Trainer Gina Mentone has everything he needs at the bench, to check his blood sugar or correct it if it strays from the range.
If it does drop, he'll hit the Gatorade (his teammates are more than willing to remind him, his father said). If it gets too high, he has an insulin pump.
He said he hasn't had problems during games, though once on vacation at the beach, exercising, not taking anything in, he had his sugar drop. That can be dangerous.
Jesuits coach Matt Sather said he keeps tabs on White's health, though he said he really doesn't have to.
"(Randy White) made me aware and said David knew how to handle everything by himself," Sather said.
Between periods, he makes sure White is checking his sugar.
"The place you have to be most aware is practice," Sather said. "In a game, you come off the ice every 20 minutes. In practice, you could be out there for two hours.
"If we have a skating drill, for two or three minutes we're getting a drink, and that gives David an opportunity to check."
All of that has not prevented White from standing out as the Jesuits' top centerman, one who has a chance to play at the next level as well.
"I'm not sure we've had a kid that's so positive so much," Sather said. "Not to say that he doesn't have moments of frustration like anybody, but going back to his freshman year, working his way up, he always had a smile on his face. He's always flying at top speed, enjoying things. He's always first in line, eager to go."
White's father called him a "good listener," learning how to handle diabetes at an age when most kids don't have that concern. David has grown up with "focus and desire," he said.
"You want to play at that level, he has to do a little more than everybody else does," Randy White said. "It doesn't make him special. It just makes him do a little more."
They all pass along the credit. David credits his family and his teammates. JoAnne White said we wanted to talk to her husband. Randy White said all the credit goes to his wife, working with the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation toward a cure, and David and the Jesuits.
White is considering his college options. He plans a post-graduate year at Phillips Exeter; Sather thinks that will give White, listed at 5-foot-8 and 175 pounds, time to fill out a little.
His dad, as parents do, will still worry about him.
"Challenges change, right?" he said.
"It's just different when he goes away next year. It's another phase of challenges."
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