Hersey's Krueger takes control in coping with diabetes
Spencer Krueger just went about his business, making big blocks or tackles for Hersey's football team this fall.
But behind the scenes, Krueger had other business to take care of.
At the age of 10, he was diagnosed with Type I diabetes.
It hardly stopped him from playing football at Hersey and rugby for the Arlington Stallions.
"The biggest thing I notice, is that I don't notice it," said Hersey football coach Joe Pardun of his 6-foot-1 235-pound offensive and defensive lineman. "This is due to the fact that Spencer is extremely responsible with his condition and is always so proactive about his treatment."
Type I diabetes is not caused from eating too much candy or sweets. It is an autoimmune disease and occurs suddenly when the pancreas stops producing insulin.
There is no cure. People with Type I diabetes need to inject themselves with insulin and give themselves insulin whenever they eat carbohydrates.
"Whenever he needs to test his blood sugar, he always has his medical kit/supplies near him," Pardun said. "He simply takes a minute to make sure his levels are correct and will take the necessary precautions. Due to the strong communication from his family with the coaching staff, and his communication and trust with his teammates, everyone is aware of the situation and knows when Spencer must be off the field for a minute.
"His teammates just jump in and make sure they have him covered," Pardun said. "It is so comforting to know as a coach how strong, responsible, and independent he is."
Krueger, also a varsity wrestler, honors student and volunteer, takes it all in stride.
"It's not hard," he said. "It's tedious because you have to test your blood sugar all the time and be constantly aware of how you are feeling. Especially in sports, where you don't want to stop what you're doing to test yourself or give insulin. But when your body tells you, you need to listen."
Krueger plays both ways for the Huskies, meaning he is on the field the majority of the game.
"I have to start the games with a higher blood sugar, drink Gatorade and test quickly in between plays," he said. "It's one more thing to think about when I'm playing."
But, as Pardun said, you would never even realize Krueger is carrying that extra burden.
"Spencer is a captain and one of the hardest-working and most respected players on our team," the coach said. "He shows a determined will that everyone around him sees, and despite the fact that he faces certain obstacles some others may not, he never uses it as an excuse or a way out. There is no question his teammates see this, which is why he is always voted on by his peers to represent our team as a captain."
Peter Bergman, the coach of the Arlington Stallions, see the same characteristics.
"Spencer has not allowed his insulin-dependent diabetes to interfere in his rugby at all," he said. "He has yet to miss, or be limited during any training session or game. It is my perception that he has refused to allow himself to be limited or overwhelmed in any way by the steps necessary to maintain normal blood glucose levels during his athletic activities."
Bergman praises the way Krueger has contested the obstacle.
"Every individual makes his or her own choice of how he or she will react when faced with such a challenge," Bergman said. "Spencer's reaction has been intelligent and mature. That maturity has been there since I met him when he was in eighth grade. He is truly mature beyond his years.
"There is no way to know for certain whether his diabetes has contributed to that maturity, but my gut tells me it probably has. From the perspective of a team sport head coach, I can say that the presence of such a level of maturity in one of a team's leading players is invaluable in creating an environment that contributes to success and a positive experience for all team members."
Krueger credits his parents for their support throughout everything.
"They are the ones who pushed me to keep trying new things and continue playing sports," Spencer said. "They taught me to never let diabetes stop me from doing anything I want, and I never have."
He is looking forward to college and hopes to continue his rugby career.
"I'm undecided between business and engineering," he said. "I plan on going to a large university (Ohio State or Michigan State are my top favorites). I hope to play rugby in college.
"I like the team aspect of the sports I play. That's why I'm involved in football and rugby, which are my two favorite sports. I like being part of a team that works toward a common goal and having people who are always there to support each other."
Krueger has used all the support from his parents and teammates along with his own determination.
"Just because you have Type 1 diabetes doesn't mean that you can't do what you want," said Spencer, whose 15-year -old sister Kendall (a sophomore tennis and badminton player at Hersey) was also diagnosed with diabetes when she was 7 years old. "It might take extra planning and thinking about what you need. You can't just run out the door but it's not that hard to grab your stuff, pack your supplies and make sure you always have what you need.
"Diabetes changes your life, but that doesn't mean that your life has to change. You can still do the things you love, you just have extra steps to keep yourself healthy. Type 1 diabetes doesn't run in our family, and it is sort of unusual to have two kids in one family with this disease."
Elmhurst junior midfielder Courtney O'Keeffe (Conant) was named a women's soccer player of the week in the College Conference of Illinois and Wisconsin.
O'Keeffe, an exercise science major, helped lead the Bluejays to a pair of CCIW wins as she scored 3 goals between the two matches.
She scored the opening goal, unassisted, in the 12th minute of a 2-1 win at North Central. O'Keeffe followed with goals in the 10th and 25th minutes of a 3-0 shutout against Millikin.
North Central College senior Laura Kluk (Palatine) set an record for assists in a College Conference of Illinois and Wisconsin match against Millikin. Kluk recorded 43 assists and added to her total of 3,569 career assists when the Cardinals fell to Wheaton College.
Carthage quarterback Ethan Olles (Palatine) converted 16-of-26 passes for 196 yards and 3 touchdowns and also ran four times for 36 yards in a 39-27 win over Augustana. Freshman Eddie Miklasz (Hersey) caught 5 of Olles' passes for 45 yards.
Augustana senior quarterback Sam Frasco (Prospect) completed 13-of-25 passes for 188 yards and ran for 82 yards on 15 carries.
Junior inside linebacker Greg Money (Fremd) led the Carthage defense with 7 tackles and a sack.
"I thought Ethan Olles did a great job," said Carthage coach Mike Yeager on the school's website. "He had command of the huddle and made the correct calls most of the time.
"We couldn't stop quarterback Sam Frasco completely, but he's a senior, and I wish him the best -- he's a really good player."
• Illinois Wesleyan senior wide receiver Artie Checchin (Rolling Meadows) scored 3 touchdowns in the Titans' 49-28 win at Elmhurst. He had touchdown catches of 72 and 45 yards and also scored on a 13-yard reverse. Checchin had 2 fourth-quarter touchdowns to help break a 28-28 tie after three quarters.
Carthage junior Matt Hausmann (Hersey) had a 76.3 average in the fall-portion of the 2015-16 season. Freshman Joe Batliner (Barrington) was at 79.0, followed by junior Matt Lynch (Palatine) at 79.6.
The Hersey Girls Feeder Basketball tryouts will be held on the following two Sundays (Nov. 1 and 8) at the Hersey High School main gym.
All girls in grades from fifth through eighth grade living in the Hersey attendance area are invited.
Times are 3:30 p.m. for fifth grade, 4:45 p.m. for eighth grade, 6 p.m. for seventh grade and 7:15 p.m. for sixth grade. Please arrive 15 minutes early to register. Bring your own basketball. For further questions, contact firstname.lastname@example.org
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