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Galesburg Teen Fights Surprising Diagnosis

A healthy, active 18-year-old sports didn't think it affect him.
GALESBURG - It's a crippling disease if left untreated, yet it affects many Americans each year; and one Galesburg teen found out it can strike at any age.

"I love sports, that's pretty much, I mean, my life," said 18-year-old Tyson Parks IV in between jump shots and dunks at his local YMCA.

Parks is a senior at Galesburg high school and a star athlete. His father, Tyson Parks III says he’s known for his skills on the court.

"Very athletic, helped lead the basketball team into a regional title," he said.

But at end of the teen’s junior year, things started to change.

"There would be practices where I like really, wouldn't feel good or something, like in my stomach would just feel weird," Parks IV said.

Aged 17 at the time, Parks IV was training for two sports.

"That’s when the alarms went off for me. How are you lifting and you lost almost 20 pounds?" said his dad.

His parents thought it might be stress.

"He would be shaking and we would experience tremors," said Parks IV. "We didn't know until much later on after diagnosis, well he's probably had it for a while, we just didn’t' know it."

One night, it got really bad and the fit and otherwise healthy young man took a ride to the emergency room to learn the cause of his problems.

"Said it looks like diabetes and I was like, wow."

His father said it was a relief in a way.

"So stuff started making sense after that," he said.

Type 1 diabetes is where the body doesn't produce the insulin it needs to convert food into energy and according to the American Diabetes Association, only five percent of people with diabetes have this form of the disease.

Now on a treatment plan, Parks IV has to test his blood glucose levels regularly, injecting insulin when it gets too high and taking in carbohydrates when it gets too low. But it's enough to let him keep doing what he loves.

"I feel great. I'm better than I was before," he said. "Just being an athlete is part of my plans for the future."

Parks IV is hopeful for a spot on a college basketball team next year. November is diabetes awareness month and he says he’s taking the opportunity to spread awareness about the disease.
 
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