Sarah Megazzini's soccer talent makes her a special player regardless of her extenuating circumstances, but the Yorkville (Ill.) High junior's ability to play with Type 1 diabetes makes her all the more remarkable.
Always an athlete, competing in multiple sports at all ages, Megazzini remembers her metabolic disease diagnosis all too well, recalling the precise date (May 23, 2005) in a wonderful Chicago Sun-Times feature.
"As my mother said, ‘What 8-year-old would ask to go see a doctor?' " she told the paper. "But I knew something was wrong. Three days spent in the hospital, I was receiving insulin and being educated on how to count carbohydrates, and deal with high and low blood sugar levels."
Nine years later, she's dealing with the same issues. She always will be. But that hasn't stopped her from becoming a two-time returning All-Conference girls' soccer player. As a junior. Checking her blood sugar levels before, during and after both practices and games, Megazzini has led the Foxes back into the Class 2A regional semfiinals later this month after reaching the regional final a year ago.
“We’re still not there, but we’re getting closer to being the type of program we aim to be,” Megazzini told the Sun-Times. “We’ve improved our level of intensity and commitment. It’s the same principles on the field as in the classroom. You have to focus on the task at hand and strive for success.”
Speaking of academics, Megazzini has reportedly made the honor roll each quarter of her high school career while participating in just about every extracurricular activity at Yorkville, including the National Honor Society, student council and choir. Oh, yeah, and she's an All-Conference tennis player, too.
Needless to say, Megazzini is an inspiration to the one in 10,000 Americans diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes, just as U.S. Olympic Nordic skier Kris Freeman was at the 2014 Sochi Olympics. It's possible to compete in sports at the highest level with the disease, and the Yorkville junior is making sure her peers know it, mentoring other recently diagnosed teens, including a teammate on her club soccer team.