Diabetic NFL player Kyle Love was unceremoniously dumped by the New England Patriots on Wednesday in the aftermath of his recent diagnosis for diabetes type 2. But observers barely had a chance to scratch their heads over the perhaps puzzling Patriots’ announcement before the Jacksonsville Jaguars took the opportunity to claim the defensive tackle.
Kyle Love’s agent, Richard Kopelman, told ESPN on Wednesday that the diabetic player had been released for NFI — non-football injury or illness. Fans with diabetes or diabetic family members might understand the feelings voiced in Kopelman’s statement:
“Naturally, we are disappointed that the Patriots decided to part ways with Kyle, especially in light of the fact that a number of elite professional athletes with diabetes…have had very successful careers in professional football, hockey, baseball and basketball.”
Kyle Love’s agent acknowledged that Love, like many people with undiagnosed diabetes, had undergone an inexplicable weight loss recently. However, once the type 2 diabetes was identified and managed with a change of diet, he regained most of the lost 30 pounds and seemed to be performing just fine.
The Jacksonville Jaguars agreed with Kopelman’s assessment that the diabetic player will be back 100 percent with a few weeks and claimed him off waivers on Thursday.
According to the American Diabetes Association (ADA), there are almost 26 million Americans living with diabetes — over 8 percent of population. Almost 2 million new cases are diagnosed with the disease each year.
With education, modern medical treatment, and the right diet, there’s absolutely no reason for most or even very many of those people to suddenly be denied their jobs.
Kudos to the Jacksonsville Jaguars for not letting old fears and prejudices stop them from hiring Kyle Love.
According to Yahoo Sports, Seattle Seahawks three-time Pro Bowler Michael Sinclair was also diagnosed with diabetes type 2 later in his career. At least two other NFL players have been known to suffer from rarer forms of diabetes.
But even though he isn’t the first diabetic NFL player, Kyle Love’s firing by the Patriots suggests that pro football still has something to learn about diabetes.
[Kyle Love photo by Jeffrey Beall via Wikimedia Commons]