‘Blood sugar sisters’: Women’s hoopers with diabetes share special bond


LA JOLLA, Calif. (KSWB) — Plenty of athletes pay attention to numbers on a stat sheet. But for UC San Diego women’s basketball forwards Kendal Ellenbeck and Emerson Herrmann, one number trumps most others on and off the court: their blood sugar level.

“When I first got to the dorms that we stayed in for the first time, my mom was handing everyone stuff to bring in and then she happened to hand Emerson my juice boxes and she’s like, ‘These are Kendal’s low snacks,’” Ellenbeck said.

The comment caught her teammate off guard.

“My doctors, when I was diagnosed, they did tell me, they were like, ‘There’s very little you can’t do because you have this now,’” Herrmann said, “and I kind of like took that with me and almost kind of wanted to be like a role model for kids who are diagnosed and like, you can do anything.”

The duo continues to see their roles expanded for the Tritons. Ellenbeck, a junior and graduate of La Jolla Country Day, has appeared in three games this season, scoring a season-high 5 points in 17 minutes in a loss to Cal Poly. She played in 23 of the team’s games last season.

Herrmann, a sophomore from Colorado, appeared in six games a season ago and hit a pair of free throws in the same game this year against Cal Poly.

The journey of a diabetic isn’t always easy, but for Ellenbeck and Herrmann, it helps to have a Blood Sugar Sister by your side.

“I have someone who knows exactly what I’m going through to be like, ‘Have you been through this before? Can you help me?’” Ellenbeck said.

“We sometimes compare our blood sugars and if we’re both the same number, one of our teammates will owe us a dollar,” Herrmann said.

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