Ice hockey + Insulin Pump. Any suggestions?

When I was on MDI, I belonged to a few ice hockey leagues. I loved to play and got a lot of good exercise. I was reluctant to switch over to an insulin pump because I didn’t think the two could co-exist. Eventually I did (and overall am happy with the decision), but II haven’t played hockey since.

I’ve tried to seek advice on how to combine a rather tough contact sport with an insulin pump, and none of the suggestions have been adequate for me.

Some suggestions and my reasons for rejecting them follow:

  • Try the “sport-pack”? Too big and bulky, and it wouldn’t fit under my hockey pants.
  • Tuck it in a pocket behind padding? Might cushion the device from outside impacts, but it wouldn’t prevent it from uncomfortably being thrust into my gut. Besides, what happens if it come loose and starts sliding down my leg.
  • After a big hit, politely explain “excuse me, but I have to go check my pump”? I laughed at the doctor who suggested that one. He doesn’t really know the nature of the game.
  • Disconnect for games? I’m just not comfortable doing that. A game at my level usually goes an hour, maybe a bit more. If the game is tied or there is an injury (or a problem with the ice) it can go a lot more.
  • Plus, I’m concerned about the infusion site itself. If a T-shirt will get soaked through with sweat, will the adhesive hold? Will the site get irritated?

During my MDI playing days, I quickly learned to bring a bottle of Gatorade to the players’ bench to treat potential lows. However, I’ve not had success bringing a meter to the rink; anytime I try to test my BG, it gives me a “low temp” error.

I know there has to be some success stories out there, I’d love to hear how anyone has been able to combine a physical sport such as hockey with diabetes.

Thanks in advance for all of your suggestions!

Toby Petersen wears one when playing.

Nick Boynton doesn’t.

I am going to try tomorrow night for the first time.

I used to get low temp errors with my pump. Put it under your armpit for a few seconds and it will warm up to where you can check it. As far as adhesive goes I live in the south in high humidity and I use Mastisol to get my infusion sets to stick. Works great. It is a surgical strength skin adhesive. They recommend you get Detachol to remove it but I have found that I don’t need it, that by the time 3 days are up it is rubbed off mostly, but I have yet to have an infusion set come out while using it. As far as protecting your pump I have no idea on how to help you there.

I’ve been amazed at how TOUGH my pump is. It can really take a beating and just keeps on pumping!!

I don’t play any contact sport, but I use the sport pak and store it in my lower back, just around the waistline. So you could tuck it into your pants under the padding. The sport pak itself is padded. It’s 4 by 6 inches and if you only put your pump in it, it’s not too big. I actually put my pump in the zipper part cause I think it’s more stable than the velcro one.

And I think that you are less likely to be hit in the lower back??? (OK, I’m not an expert on this??)

Wow – thanks PowerPumper! I had no idea … I knew about Bobby Clarke, but there were no pumps in his playing days, and his treatment seemed relatively primitive compared to the tight control we strive for now.

I may try it where Toby Peterson keeps his pump – it’s pretty accessible, and not in an area which often gets hit (men, by instinct, tend to protect that area more than any other). Also, the infusion set high on his hip is somewhat guarded – although I’m sure I fall a lot more than he does! Interesting to see that both players use the Silhouette. Please let me know how it works for you.

Cody - I assume you mean low-temp alarms on the meter, not the pump. I’ve tried squeezing the meter between my hands to warm it with little success. Maybe it was just a poor choice (super-temperature-sensitive) meter. Which one do you use? Also, would the high-humidity along with the cold damage either the meter or the strips?

Kristin - Sorry, I misspoke. I meant the SportGuard (, not the Sport Pack. That one is a hard, clear plastic, inflexible box that holds the pump (and inhibits access to the buttons on it!). It’s supposed to be good for water sports as well – but its way too bulky for me. It’s very easy to get hit in the lower back. Either falling backwards, or being run into by someone who can’t stop very well. Generally its not a particularly hard hit, but enough to cause me some concern. This is the only pump I have; I can’t afford a backup, and I want it to last.

Aaahhh… todays the sixth consecutive day of 90+ degree temperatures in New York, and I’m thinking about ice hockey. One can dream…

Low temp on meter. When I was getting that I was using the meter that you can check your blood for ketones for. For the life of my I can’t remember what brand it is as I don’t use it now. I have yet to have high humidity damage my meter or strps

Does anyone have any updated experiences to add for placement of a pump while playing hockey?

My son has alway taken his pump off for hockey. He was diagnosed at age 10 as a type 1 which has not stopped him from playing competitive but affected his interest in participating in any sort of all day hockey camp or any other sports camp for that matter. As a 16 year old, he has now received his first invitation to attend a junior A hockey camp this June. We know that the camp will run over a three day period, but have no idea right now as to how much time, will be scheduled back-to-back on the ice, so depending on the schedule, taking his pump off may be impossible.


I’d wear it in front, just inside his pants. Maybe check with your rep to see if it’s covered under warranty. I’d hate to switch to mdi and not get it right.

I don’t play hockey, but prior to pregnancy I did gymnastics.

I clipped it between my shoulder blades or on the small of my back on the waistline. Would that work for you?

PowerPumper posted a couple of YouTube links above. The one on Toby Petersen may be helpful since you see where he puts the pump, where he puts the infusion set (and what type), etc. You can also look here for another article on him, along with a video which is somewhat motivational, but not as informative.

If he’s used to not wearing a pump at all for hockey, I’d suggest going with a low temporary basal rate (30%?) and tweak it from there. Unfortunately, over just 3-days, that doesn’t leave much time for experimentation. Please let us know how it works out!

It would not feel good to fall on it. Very likely to happen. I wore mine once tucked in the front and clamped onto the inside of my pants. i never noticed it.

there’s a sports harness that I use from MM it looks like a bookbag in a way. I did the balance beam, uneven bars, you name it. I’m not sure how it would work for contact sports as I don’t do those. :slight_smile:

Thank you Cynthia, and thank you to the others for the replies above. I actually have one of the MM harnesses. I bought it for him thinking that it might come in handy for soccer and basketball, but for both sports he just took his pump off instead.

I don’t think it will be too good a choice for hockey as he is a defenceman and a lot of pushing and shoving tends to go on near the net, but I did look at the Peterson Youtube video with him and he’ll probably try Peterson’s method of tucking the pump in the front of his hockey pants that PowerPumper recommended above.

Thanks Cynthia and thank you PowerPumper and Scott, your information was very helpful and I will show him the info page that Scott linked to Peterson the next time that my son sits down to show me something on the internet.


You are most welcome :slight_smile:

Scott just found your post - no luck with the ice hockey it seems. I am trying to solve the same problem going from MDI to pump+CGM but as a firefighter - using 3-4 inch hoses under massive pressure in rugged rural terrain and a search and rescue worker using rescue full body harnesses. The problems of impact, sweat, general snagging etc I am trying to wrestle with. If you have any good ideas I would really welcome them. Thanks, Dave