Contact sports with a pump?

Before I was diagnosed with Type 1 I trained in martial arts. This is when I was in high school and college and younger than I am now. (I am now 42) I have been Type 1 for 12 years and now my kids are training at the same studio I grew up in. They would like me to get back into taking Karate classes. Does anyone have any suggestions on how to protect my pump site? I have an omnipod, usually worn on my arms. (stomach sites need to recover from years of use). I would like a padded wrap to put over it but I am having trouble finding one. Thank you for any suggestions!

I studied Tae Kwon Do for a while and would tuck it in between my belt? The academy had the doboks (gi) w/ ties and the sort of angled "cut" that was really ideal for the tube to snake out and be protected enough by the weight of the belt.

Thank you - that's a good idea! I could try to place my omnipod on my lower back and my belt could provide the padding/protection I was looking for. Thank you!I took my first class in years and it went well. Blood sugars were ok throughout the class - made it through, not low til the end. I am comfortable in the studio - 4 out of 5 of my kids take classes there and I work in the office so they all know me. I just know I am the only diabetic there and just worry about my pump getting bumped or pulled on. But, the worry isn't enough to stop me from trying. I taped the sides of the pod down too. Thank you for the suggestion! Did you like Tae Kwon Do?

I loved it! Two weeks before my black belt test, my office closed and I had to move for work so I stopped. It made a huge impact on me and diabetes and really helped me get focused and turn a few things around. Since we moved, MrsAcidRock has been working more so I'm making up for the years when I was out @ the dojang 5-6 nights/ week and have switched to running. I fell on it hard once too, as I was doing a jump spinning kick, struggled, somebody pointed out I need to snap my hip more, I snapped and totally flipped over and fell on it but that was about the worst shot it took and it survived. I think it's a great thing. I looked around at places where we moved and tried Kung Fu for a while but the geography isn't as conducive as it was like 20 minutes to drive to class to work out for an hour and then driving home and it seems more productive to go run.

Yes, it is time consuming - Between all the classes and me working in the office we are there everyday from 4:00 to 7:00 but the kids love it and I do really appreciate the attitude there - that if something is hard you work at it and keep going. Through many years of pregnancies I had very tight control of my blood sugars. For the past couple years I have been running a little on the high side - 140 to 160. This became comfortable to me: I do a lot of driving with kids, spur of the moment runs after the dog who escaped the yard, etc. and I liked the extra buffer of more sugar so I didn't always drop low. But, now it's slipped a little more into 160 to 180 average range and I know I need to tighten up, record my BG and pay more attention. That's why I am so grateful I found this web site. And, why I am getting back in karate. My oldest son has his 1st jujitsu fight this weekend (he's in a MMA training program) so that will be fun but I think hard for me to watch. We'll see how anxiety and BG goes then! On my page I have a pic of my youngest son with his latest trophy. Proud mom! Thank you for responding to my question - your getting to a black belt level really encourages and inspires me!! That is so awesome!! Thank you!!

Hello busymom:

Given I am a professional kara-te teacher for a long time, I might have a thought or two on the subject. Technically Okinawan karate is a very different creature than TKD. Jujitsu (Japanese koryu), MMA, Karate all have very specific technical preferences, presentations and often unique clothing. Which you study will make meaningful difference in placement and where it can be placed for that matter.

So let's start with the easy part... what art exactly do you study and go from there?!

Thank you for helping! It's American Freestyle Karate. We have the uniform top that wraps around and ties on both sides but now in the summer when it's so hot we have t-shirts with our studio name on them that we can wear instead. My youngest son is 6 and he is a Tiny Dragon - gold belt, then I have a 10 yr old daughter - green belt and 13 yr. old son - purple belt - they also take bo staff and bokken classes plus they are on an extra sparring team and then my oldest son 19 yrs is in the same studio but with another instructor for a MMA program. I go to the family class with the kids and I got some Coban wrap and have been trying that to help secure it when my omnipod is on my arm (underside of upper arm). I can't partner with my kids for self defense or one steps because they are higher belts than me. I have always loved forms the best and that I can do without contact so my pump isn't a problem then. Honestly, I think I am just a little scared - I know the more I go the more I will be comfortable and less focused on my pump, right? Thank you so very much for your response and your help!

The other thing to consider is that the people with whom you'd be sparring *are* martial artists who should be able to miss your pump or aim somewhere else? I know about the heat of the battle and all that but I don't recall ever hitting anyone anywhere "embarrassing" and I'd be embarrassed to blast someone's pump? I'd be embarrassed to hit anyone really hard anyway? I looked at it as sort of like "tag" as it's just as challenging to tighten your muscles to "tap" someone, they know you hit them but you don't injure them or yourself trying to blow them away?

Ummm....technically a student is not required to spar until a blue belt so I can put that part off for a while because I am still low in the belt levels. But, you do spar other students so some are better than others at control and aim and different students have different personalities. I watch the sparring classes and I know pretty much all the students: kids and adults and have reads on most of their sparring styles. If your hands are down then you get hit in the head, I accept that and luckily my kids are really good at keeping their hands up and my pump will never be worn on my head. :) I think when you enter the ring to spar you have to be prepared to not get "tapped". I think I just need to just do it - what's the worst that could happen anyway - if my pump gets bumped I'll check and change it if necessary, right? It's just a new thing for me to get back into so I need to figure out how it effects my bg - exercise and anxiety wise. I love my studio and I don't want to fail. I just have to adjust to being older now and dealing with my bg. I think I am letting things get the better of me...

Hello busymom:

Ok, multiple practices, one location. Depending on the pump, tubing is always and implied issue, unless you have a tubeless unit.

With weapons of any type safety is the sole issue, always, as we all know. Tubing has to be underneath absolutely everything. Loose invisibles are literally a danger. Earrings, bracelets, necklaces, rings... tubing all the same issue. They can be broken, hurt someone, or potentially us.

As a woman, I'd recommend clipping it on your bra for some practices, "between the girls" as my wife likes to say. But the sternum, the solar plexus are nearby and definite targets for almost everything. Solo practice, probably no problem. Partner stuff.... unnnngh. Looks funny, but use the distraction, right?!

Forearm is good but the issue is keeping it secured, unmoving. All its gotta do is slip, fall off, and the practice has to stop to adjust. Not a fan of adjusting, there to practice my art, not to be a diabetic. As a guy, (and being part Saccswatch) I looked like the family dog after the swimming pool regardless. Had a bear of a time keeping the sets attached because of it... winter summer ugggh, did not matter much.

I used my hip pointer. Manual insert, not fun... but no hair, nothing to shave and plus not a lot of sweat. Never a target. Also clipped mine backwards against my belly INSIDE the double wrapped belt. Was not especially comfortable, but again not a target, higher or lower absolutely... the hip itself never.

Throws, free sparring, not very friendly. One student wore a tiny fanny pack to hold his. Overtime others I've spoken with like the svelt belts -sp.?- (?). Essentially a gigantic garter, a money belt which should not move meaningfully, because its velcroed tight against your body.

Tubing getting yanked out/off, the set sites pulled off... the only cure I found was the EXTRA LONG tubing. As an Okinawan Karate practice standing grappling was very familiar practice. But as a kata (aka poomose, hyung, form) centric art we did A LOT of exploration, applying, using the small pieces which make up the whole (larger) form. Decades...

Ground grappling, some but not too much, not the way Judo, Wrestling, MMA loves the ground. But for those times I detached, or more likely put the pump on my back regardless of where the set/set was placed. The back... not a primary target, we were rarely on our bellies... laying belly down... almost never, on our backs... absolutely. Uncomfortable but not getting pulled out, torn... nada.

One art, ONLY one art deeply.... intense nuances, obscene subtleties... with time then expand. Classical training I guess... but lots of paths are good. How long did you study originally? And as for scared... that makes you SMART. Prefer thinkers people who are awake to practice with, aware of whats an issue for them, for me.... instead of brain dead meat head partners.

Tough is easy. Smart is much, much harder. Glad to help if I can...

Hello Acidrock:

Hummmmmngh... is there be no fear of being hurt IYV? Concern and the epiphany wow I have power, or hey this stuff does work... all at the same time. But tag is a game... is martial practice?

Does hurting someone in practice require malice?

Hello Busymom,

Good to hear you're not just thrown into the meat grinder, that's good. Takes a certain amount of time before things get absorbed enough to use them credibly. Before then its pure impulse not a technical response. Very different critters...

BG with any intense activity, you need bloodsugar for energy. You'll have to keep things higher and use it for fuel. Anxiety, like fight or flight stuff? Or what to do with the shakes when you are allowed encouraged to spar. Technically by then you should have the ability, some credibility. The trick is belief... experience will prove you have skill. With time you will believe...

The fear everybody has... and should. Our limits, our fear is THE value of training. Understand them, face them, work on them and keep fighting anyway. Diabetes, martial arts the same goals...


Hi Stuart!
Thank you so much for talking with me! I have been waiting to reply in hopes that I could get to karate class again beforehand and then tell you how it went! Sadly, I haven't made it. Between working as the karate studio office person and my teen daughter due to have a baby anytime now, things are busy here. I did purchase KT tape and am going to use that to re-enforce the pod tape on my pump. My omnipod doesn't have tubing so that is easier for class. I have been walking/running, stretching,and working on forms with my kids at home. I originally studied 2 years in high school and one year in college. I love working at the studio and watching my kids' classes and training. Thank you for your help and for encouraging me!!

Hi busymom,

Best of luck in all of your martial arts pursuits. Wearing an Omnipod shouldn't hold you back in the slightest.

Here's a pic of the pod I'm currently wearing. It is on my abdomen and survived an hour of Brazilian Jiujitsu drills and an hour of BJJ live training. I use both KT tape and Opsite, as well as various wraps depending on the site.

I make sure I secure the front of the pod where the cannula inserts with quadruple strips of KT. One, about an inch and a half wide and two inches long goes horizontally accross the front, directly over the window. The second strip is about two inches wide and 3 inches long gets rotated 90 degrees and goes over the first strip. Two strips about an inch and half by two inches (not pictured because I cut them off after they broke loose at the end of training) go at 45 degrees out from the front of the pod.

I then secure the back witha few strips of KT tape, but I use those sparingly. None of those are pictured because they just didn't survive the training. I cut them off afterward and stuck some more opsite in to keep the Pod attached til expirartion.

I'll cover the KT tape with a layer of Opsite to keep the edges from peeling up. I'll leave the Omnipod adhesive itself as uncovered as possible. As soon as it becomes saturated with sweat it is useless and I found taht covering teh adhesive with anything just makes the skin sweat underneath.

As long as the front of the pod is secured and doesn't move around, the pod will survive long enough to strap it down some more after you are done training.

I wrap the whole site up with a McDavid wrap, but I'm rethinking that approach because it just makes me sweat more than usual under my gi.

Good luck!!

Can’t thank you enough for that belt tip. Stays put, stays safe and out of the way.

Wow! Thank you so very much!! Thank you for the awesome picture and the detailed instructions!! It is just what I need!! Now I have a plan to follow - thank you. My oldest son, age 19 and in MMA training, is reading your post over my shoulder and he says "That's very cool, mom! You need to do that and go to karate class!"
Thank you for taking the time to share this with me. Thank you for the example and the encouragement. It means a lot!!


It was nerve wracking hitting the mat for the first time wearing a pod. I've lost a few since I started back, but it's well worth it. As I get more experience securing and training with the pod, I'm managing to work out better ways to keep it secured and I'm losing fewer and fewer pods.

Happy to share anything that might help. I have a new pod on that's scheduled to go 2 hours of instruction and 2 hours of live training this week. We'll how it goes!

Again, good training to you and your family!

I’m glad it has helped you and that the sun never sets on my friends from Tu!

I've seen a couple of things - Ace bandage wrapped around the pod to hold it in place, and the sleeve that football players wear pulled over the site.

An Ace bandage wrap was one of the first things I tried when I started back with BJJ. It was better than nothing but it just didn't hold up very well over the course of drilling and training. The best part is that they are absorbent and breathable which limits the amount of sweat building up at the site. I'd imagine that they would work well enough for most activities.

I've tried a number of different sleeves to cover my sites on various bodyparts. Some work better than others. The best ones seem to be the ones that can be wrapped tightly around a site with some type of binding versus just being pulled over the site. Again, anything that does a good job at wrapping up the site will also be absorbent and breathable.