An estimated 9 million people are living with type 1 diabetes. All people with this type of diabetes require insulin to survive. Earlier this week, during his Round of 16 match at the French Open, German tennis star Alexander Zverev was told by a match official that he could not inject insulin for his type 1 diabetes on court because it looked “weird”. He was also prevented from administering his insulin during a toilet break.
Following an inspiring backlash from the global diabetes community, French Open officials reversed their position, allowing Zverev to inject on court in subsequent matches. We find this change of position by the French Open encouraging.
However, more needs to be done to ensure that athletes with diabetes are given the opportunity to manage their condition optimally in competition. We hope, therefore, that all sporting authorities and many other organisations, including workplaces and schools, take note and put in place the necessary measures to ensure that people who require insulin to manage their diabetes are understood and can take their medication in an environment free from stigma. We strongly encourage the media to help dispel the misconceptions about diabetes that continue to exist by reporting accurately on the condition and what is required to manage it.