Even with a father diagnosed with diabetes, ESPN radio broadcaster and former NFL lineman Mike Golic never thought he'd get the chronic disease.
Then, about seven years ago, Golic, now 49, was having a regular blood check and was diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes -- which means there are high levels of sugar (glucose) in the blood.
"My dad was dealing with it for years, and I just wrongly didn't think I'd get it," said Golic, who cohosts "Mike & Mike in the Morning" on ESPN Radio. "I just didn't have enough information, so I never thought about it."
Type 2 diabetes, which affects nearly 26 million people in the United States, usually occurs slowly over time. Most people with the disease are overweight when they are diagnosed. Family history and genes also play a large role.
When Golic found out, he treated it like sports.
"My doctor became my coach," said Golic, who played nine years in the NFL. "I asked him, 'What do I need to do to stay ahead of this?’”
Now Golic, along with a doctor and a dietitian, are spearheading The Blood Sugar Basics Game Plan.
Developed by the American College of Endocrinology with support from Merck, the online program breaks down diabetes management into four easy-to-understand "goals" to help people with Type 2 diabetes take small steps toward better management of their ABC (A1C or blood sugar, blood pressure and cholesterol). The two coaches working with Golic are clinical endocrinologist Farhad Zangeneh and registered dietitian and exercise physiologist Samantha Heller.
"When I was first diagnosed, I didn't know where to turn," Golic said. "Now we have this resource for people to learn more."
Golic said he's been able to deal with his diabetes for years by "eating right, getting rest and working out. It's now just part of my day."
While on the road traveling for work, Golic's radio partner, Mike Greenberg, has been watching Golic's eating habits.
If Golic wants to eat a piece of cake, Greenberg just cautions him. "Well, I need the big fella around ..."