It’s a sport you may not follow and his is a name you may never have heard of, but this world champion is diabetic and he’s facing struggles he did not imagine when he took up his sport. This is the story of Raymond van Barneveld.
“Barney’s” sport is professional darts – and he takes it very seriously. He’s won multiple world championships and is a favorite among fans. He hails from the Netherlands and is that countries most celebrated darts player.
In his early 40’s Barney was diagnosed with diabetes in August 2009. He tells the Daily Star, “It’s getting worse.” Barney clarified his diagnosis in mirror.co.uk, “While on holiday in Spain, I discovered I was diabetic. I was waking up every morning with needles and pins in my arms, and it turned out my blood sugar level was four times higher than it should be. It’s Type 2 diabetes, which means I don’t have to inject insulin or take pills, but it’s becoming worse and sometimes I’m so tired… I find it hard to focus.”
As he worked toward his 6th world championship his struggle was not against his competition, but with the effects of his diabetes. Barney is quoted by the Daily Star as saying, “When I’m on stage, I can’t focus as it costs me so much energy every time. I am tired, too tired. The diabetes is my biggest obstacle.”
Mirror.co.uk reported on the recent championship round, “The five-times world champion was so shattered at one stage he could barely retrieve his darts from the board, and was only able to complete his victory after taking sugar tablets and apple juice backstage during the break.”
It is commonly discussed among fans that professional dart players are not always the most fit individuals, but fans are cheering on Raymond van Barneveld as he continues his fight to manage his diabetes.
Barney admits that his greatest struggle is with himself, “I like my food, I like a drink,” he told Mirror.co.uk.
Barney’s response may not be entirely uncommon when a diagnosis of diabetes has been given. Habits are hard to change and restrictions can seem like a sentence of death or lifelong punishment. However, in order to improve your health picture a change in personal direction is needed.
There is a psychological component in determining to roll with new changes related to self-management in diabetes. While it is often initially resisted there will come a time when an individual is tired of being tired, weary of feeling sick and wants to change simply to reengage with life.
You will find many articles here that describe the success stories of men and women who were diagnosed with diabetes and made the hard choices necessary to become a better picture of health and a greater asset to their families.
The next chapter on Raymond van Barneveld hasn’t been written, but the pride of the Netherlands could choose to use his platform as a way to help share the message of diabetes prevention. He could choose to alter lifestyle choices in order to manage his disease better. Barney has choices – and so do you. What will your next chapter look like?
“Somehow I managed to win, but while my brain was telling me everything was all right, my body was shutting down, saying ‘No, I can’t do it any more, forget it’.” – Raymond van Barneveld