Tamworth Tigers raise awareness for diabetes

Tamworth Tigers hosted an introduction to basketball event to raise awareness for diabetes in collaboration with the Sutton Coldfield Youth Diabetes Group.

Hosted in April, participants with type 1 diabetes were invited to attend a basketball session and learn more about the sport and their condition. 

One of the club's own players, Jaici Warren-Brownhill, who has been with the Tigers since she was 11-years-old and now plays for the women's team, has type 1 diabetes, as does her father, Girls and Women's Head Coach Nick. 

Warren-Brownhill did a short talk about her experiences in basketball, including winning the Jnr NBL U14s girls league title with the Leicester Riders and finishing third in the Junior Final Fours, as well as being a qualified Level 1 coach who coaches the Tigers' U11s programme, and how diabetes hasn't stopped her from being active.

"I was 11, when I found my love for basketball," said the 16-year-old, who currently plays with the Tamworth Tigresses, the club's first ever women's basketball team. 

"Basketball has really helped me both physically and mentally to manage my diabetes. Whilst playing, although I still have to focus on my bloods, I don’t have to think about what people think, as we all have the motivation to win, and they don’t care about the devices that I’m wearing [to monitor my blood sugar levels]. 

"Basketball allows me to monitor my blood sugar more easily due to the fact that I’m taking part in regular exercise. During exercise my levels are maintained at a safe rate and I don’t have to continuously monitor them and can just focus on the game without distractions. I believe that basketball has allowed me to gain a tighter control over my diabetes."

Jaici Warren-Brownhill talks to children about basketball and managing her diabetes.

Wayne Brooks, Tamworth Tigers' founding director, said that the idea behind the event was to "help children understand how they could manage their blood sugars by playing basketball, what to do to maintain a healthy lifestyle, but also to have fun, learning basketball skills and drills." 

University Hospitals Birmingham NHS Foundation Trust's Lead Paediatric Diabetes Specialist Nurse, Paitra Sparkes, said:

"A big thank you to Tamworth Tigers for a fantastic, fun, well organised basketball event for children with type 1 diabetes.  Wayne and Sarah along with their coaches created a safe, inclusive environment for all children and young people from 8-20 years of age to learn different techniques and skills in the sport of basketball.  They demonstrated how basketball is a positive, engaging, team sport and we would definitely like to repeat this event again."