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Tackling Diabetes

January 19, 2022
people playing football
Cowboys football player Chad Muma defends against Fresno State at War Memorial Stadium in October 2021.

Cowboys’ legacy player Chad Muma shares a message of hope with the next generation. 

By Micaela Myers 

Mechanical engineering senior Chad Muma of Lone Tree, Colo., holds a long list of honors as the Cowboys’ starting middle linebacker, including ranking No. 4 in the nation in total tackles and No. 3 in the nation in solo tackles. His 2021 post-season accomplishments include Walter Camp Football Foundation Second Team All-American, Pro Football Focus Second Team All-American, Associated Press Third Team All-American, Butkus Award finalist and First Team All-Mountain West Conference. Muma’s father and grandfather played for the University of Wyoming, but he wasn’t sure he’d be able to follow in their footsteps after his Type 1 diabetes diagnosis in middle school. He’s now the only football player on the team with diabetes, and his success required learning to carefully manage the condition.

“The process I have to go through is always staying on top of it and checking what I’m eating before practice and before games,” Muma says. “During a game, I’ll check my blood sugar at each quarter. I’ll adjust my numbers, whether it’s giving myself insulin or eating snacks throughout the game to keep my blood sugar at a steady state. That’s the most important thing. There’s a lot of fluidity with it, but learning how my body reacts to exercise helps me through the games.”

It’s important to Muma to share his message with the next generation—diabetes doesn’t need to change your dreams. In high school, he spoke to middle school kids with diabetes. And this summer, he made the trek to Casper’s Camp Hope, a program dedicated to helping children ages 7-18 with Type 1 diabetes.

“It was a great experience,” Muma says. “It’s something I always wanted to do, having Type 1 diabetes and being an athlete in college. They told me their stories, and I shared my story with them and let them know that anything is possible and not to let their diabetes hold them back at all. I got a lot out of it as well.”

Muma is definitely not letting the disease hold him back and hopes to go on to play in the NFL.

“My long-term hopes and dreams are to make it to the NFL and excel at that level,” he says. “There are other players with diabetes that have done it. I think I have a good opportunity as long as I keep playing the way I know I can.”

He remembers attending games with this family in Laramie when he was growing up.

“I love playing for our team,” Muma says. “I feel like the support we have here is incredible. Having that atmosphere is what I enjoy the most.”

However, balancing sport with such a demanding major isn’t easy.

“There’s definitely not a lot of social time,” Muma says. “Every day I stick to my strict schedule of going to class, going to meetings for football, going to practice. After practice, I go home and do homework.”

He appreciates the stellar educational opportunities at UW: “All the new buildings and resources we have available on campus allow me to really further my education.”

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