Max Domi, Arizona Coyotes rookie recently spent some time with kids of Western Middle School in Goodyear speaking about how diabetes didn’t prevent him from becoming a NHL player.
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Max Domi, Arizona Coyotes rookie spent part of an afternoon at Western Sky Middle School in Goodyear speaking to and visiting with students as part of an American Diabetes Association’s School Walk for Diabetes kick-off event.
Domi told Coyotes (www.coyotes.nhl.com) Dave Vest:
“I love being able to help people out and hopefully get across a strong message to the kids,” Domi said. Life is full of ups and downs and it can be tough when things go wrong, Domi said. The message to the kids is all about getting through that and becoming a better person as you’re getting through that. For me, it was getting diagnosed with diabetes. Getting through that has made me the person I am today. That’s what I try to express to the kids.”
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The focus to the kids was that being afflicted with Type 1 diabetes did not prevent him from making his dream of becoming a NHL player come true. He speaks from experience since he was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes at age 12 and he wears an insulin pump during games so he and the team trainers can monitor his blood sugar levels. He also recently traded roommates, by welcoming his diabetic alert dog Orion to help him with his blood sugar alert system.
The 60-pound yellow lab is able to detect from the aroma of Domi’s saliva that his blood sugar needs attention. Domi wears an insulin pump that has a three day supply of insulin thru his back hip.
Domi’s Mom, Leanne researched the concept of an alert dog by contacting Canine Hope for Diabetics, a non-profit organization that has placed 30 such service dogs with diabetics in California since 2010.
The process involved in Orion alerting Domi that his blood sugar level is low is quite clever. Domi has a bringsel, which resembles a foam roller attached to his hip. When Orion detects that Max’s level is too low, he grabs at it, and won’t let go until his new owner acknowledges him. He then gets rewarded with a peanut butter treat and some verbal rewards from Domi. The process works as Domi declares that Orion is correct 99 per cent of the time.
Orion is even on duty through the night, sleeping next to Domi on the floor, and will wake his new friend if he detects a low blood sugar level. Orion catches some sleep during the day, when he’s “off the clock.”
The entire process of training dogs for this service takes two years. The service doesn’t come cheap, as a dog can cost anywhere from $10,000 to $25,000 to acquire.
Domi, who is good friends with team-mate Anthony Duclair, were roommates until recently when it was discovered that Duclair is allergic to dogs. Anthony has found a new place, but still spends time with Domi so they can hang out as before.
Max Domi has exhibited a vested interest in educating kids and adults alike of the challenges and solutions to being a diabetic.
So far in his hockey career, and especially now when he is playing against the best players in the world, it hasn’t slowed him down a bit. He is to be commended for his work in fighting the disease. And, with Orion’s help will stay healthy through the process.