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Diabetes doesn’t stop Texas Star duo

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Diabetics are a rarity in pro hockey yet the Texas Stars now have two players - Toby Petersen and Taylor Vause, who deal with the disease on a daily basis.

"I don't think I've had one my team before and I've coached for a long time," Texas Stars Head Coach Willie Desjardins said.

"The first thing we think of when we wake up in the morning is - 'what's the blood sugar at? And what are we gonna have for breakfast?" Vause said.

"We carry some juices and you know we have a lot of granola bars for everyone. They're open to anyone but Taylor and I are more aware of where they are!" Petersen said.

Because diabetics can't produce or properly use insulin - blood/sugar levels need to be checked and regulated frequently.

"The tough part is if it gets really low. It's really hard to battle through that. You don't want that to happen," Petersen said.

"And on game days it's especially a big deal because you want to be feeling as good as you can," Vause said.

Petersen, 34, was diagnosed when he was 5.

"It was a big concern that I wasn't going to be able to play with my friends any longer," Petersen said.

Vause, 22, learned he had diabetes just four years ago.

"Right off the bat, I thought my hockey career was over," Vause said.

Both have obviously excelled despite diabetes and in part, because of it!

"If anything, it's made me a little bit of a stronger person. It's taught me a lot about discipline," Petersen said.

"It's amazing when they are so aware of their body, they're aware of a lot of other things too," Desjardins said.

Perhaps the best silver lining is this duo's ability to positively affect others. Imagine a youngster with diabetes being able to settle in here at the Cedar Park Center and watch two of his heroes who share the same disease.

"When I was first diagnosed, I was fortunate enough to get a call from Bobby Clarke and Nick Boynton. For me, to hear from them meant a lot - to know I'd be alright," Vause said. "I like telling kids they can succeed."

"I preach to especially newly diagnosed diabetics that this disease doesn't have to change every facet of their life - that they can go on with a normal life and be successful at things that they do," Petersen said.

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