By Bruce Campbell, Staff Writer
On Oct. 21, 2002, Katie Martin and her family received what could have been devastating news.
She had Type I diabetes like her maternal grandfather, who eventually die from it.
Her parents cried.
She refused to feel sorry for herself. Martin would miss two months of school that year because of various treatments, but would be the tri-valedictorian of her eighth-grade class at Cimarron.
“It’s only a challenge if you make it a challenge,’’ Martin said. “You need to keep your blood sugar under control — that’s a challenge in itself — but there’s no limit to what you can do.’’
Martin lived up to her words in being voted by area coaches the Enid News & Eagle North-west Oklahoma Slow-Pitch Softball Player of the Year.
“It’s really cool,’’ she said about the honor. “All the hard work that I put in, I didn’t think I was being noticed. I guess I was by a lot of people.’’
She has benefited by advances in treating the disease. Martin monitors her blood sugar through an insulin pump. Instead of having to take four shots a day, she needs a shot only every third day.
“It’s made life a little interesting,’’ Martin said. “I used to be able to blow and go. Now I can get sick if I blow and go too much.’’
She checks her blood sugar between innings and games. If it gets too low, she drinks a lot of Gatorade and takes glucose tablets.
“I can do whatever I want,’’ Martin said. “I just need to cover it with insulin.’’
Martin has to avoid getting too hot or sweaty. Her blood sugar once went over 600 during a district tournament her junior year in fast-pitch, which technically, she said, should have put her in a coma.
She took some insulin and helped lead the Lady Blazers to a district championship.
“My mom was freaking out,’’ Martin said. “I fought her all the way. I told her I couldn’t let my team down.’’
She had another scare in in a slow-pitch regional her junior year. She slid head-first into second, which ripped out the site of her insulin pump in her stomach.
Luckily for Martin, she listen to her mother when she suggested she bring some extra insulin. Between games, a teammate’s mother who was a nurse helped cleaned Martin up and the insulin site was put back in.
“That was my most memorable memory — a huge bruise on my stomach,’’ Martin said.
Martin does have the benefit of having her father, Paul, as her fast-pitch and slow-pitch coach. Coach Martin and Jeff Crawford, her basketball coach, check her out close before practices and games.
“My blood sugar can go up and down,’’ Katie Martin said. “I’m so lucky to have coaches who understand. They can see it in my eyes if I’m not well.’’
Martin had to overcome a concussion in fast-pitch and surgery to remove a cyst during basketball.
She hit .552 with a slugging percentage of .897 to lead the Blazers to a district championship.
Coach Martin said it wasn’t easy for Katie to be the coach’s daughter.
“No matter what you do or how well you do it, you always hear that articulate few that claim the only reason you get any type of recognition is that your the coach’s kid,’’ he said. “She has battled through that and diabetes to become, in my a estimation, to become one of the best first basemen ever from the Enid area.’’
Hitting over .500 can shut up any critic, though.
“I’ve always been known as coach Martin’s daughter,’’ Martin said. “I think finally this year that I went a step beyond that. I think started to be looked on as a good player instead of just coach Martin’s daughter
“I learned a lot by watching those older girls play softball. I learned how to do things the right way. If I didn’t do it the right way in practice, if one of the girls was still there, they would show me how to do it the right way.’’