HIGH SCHOOL FOOTBALL Diabetes doesn't slow Irish's Graves
The Ursuline senior running back likely will attend North Carolina next fall.
By JOE SCALZO
VINDICATOR SPORTS STAFF
YOUNGSTOWN -- Terrence Graves admits that Type 1 diabetes has sometimes brought out the worst in him -- his stubbornness, his irritability and his frustration.
But, he says, it has also brought out the best.
"If I didn't have it, I'm not sure I could have done all I've done," Graves, a senior football player at Ursuline High, said. "I took it as a challenge."
Graves, who owns career school records in rushing yards, scoring and average yards per carry, was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes in the eighth grade. He spoke at Thursday's STARS Diabetes Outreach Program at Oakhill Renaissance Place.
The condition causes the body to stop producing insulin, a hormone enabling the body to use glucose found in foods for energy. This form usually develops in children or young adults, but can occur at any age.
Graves must take three shots of insulin each day and eat snacks and meals regularly.
After nearly five years, it hasn't gotten any easier.
"I hate shots," said Graves, laughing. "I still get an attitude.
"But it comes with the package and I still have to do it. My family and friends have helped. They've been an inspiration."
Things to learn
Ursuline football coach Dan Murphy, who was hired last spring to replace Jim Vivo, was an assistant coach at Massillon Washington the past four years.
This is the first time Murphy has coached a player with diabetes. Luckily, his wife, Leslie, is a doctor.
"She's been very helpful," Murphy said of Leslie. "She's taught me a lot and so has Terrence. It's been very beneficial."
Graves will play football in college and is leaning toward the University of North Carolina. He also has offers from Louisville (Ky.), Cincinnati, Western Michigan and Central Michigan.
"It's always been my dream to go to North Carolina," Graves said. "At first it was just because of the colors, but I went down there my sophomore year and I loved it. It's a great place to play and it's beautiful."
Graves was a starter on Ursuline's 2000 state championship team. After his speech, he was asked if the Irish plan to win another state title.
He paused for a moment, then smiled and nodded.
"We've got some things to take care of," he said.