Hannah McCook: Diabetic Scottish golfer uses Steve Redgrave as inspiration

Hannah McCook

“When I was diagnosed, my parents told me Sir Steve Redgrave was diabetic, and from that moment I was like ‘Well, look what he can do’, so I just believed that I can get on with it.”

Since being diagnosed at the age of eight, Hannah McCook has refused to let having type 1 diabetes hold her back.

Now one of Scottish golf’s top prospects, the 25-year-old will later this week try to qualify for the Ladies European Tour, having won the Scottish Order of Merit for a third straight year.

“Before a round, I have to make sure my blood sugar levels are stable,” she tells BBC Scotland.

“They drop quite a lot when I am warming up, and as soon as I tee off the adrenaline spikes them, so it is catching them before it goes too much.

“I’m always thinking about it, rather than just thinking about where the pin placements are, or what the wind is.

“In one way that takes my head away from the golf a little bit, but at the same time it is more to worry about.”

‘I try my best to control it’

Medical advances and improving technology have certainly made life a little easier for the golfer from Nethy Bridge, a small village north-east of Aviemore in the Cairngorms National Park.

“A couple of years ago I got an insulin pump,” McCook explained. “I don’t have to do five injections a day, and I have now got a continuous glucose monitor which is connected to my phone so I can see my blood sugars at all times, and I am not doing as many finger-prick tests.

“It is making it easier, but at the same time I am still having to do a lot of work, and working out the carbohydrate content of every meal.

“The stress and nerves and tiredness affects the blood sugar and everything on a daily basis, so every day is completely different, but I try my best to keep it as well controlled as I can.”

‘I’m very excited and very nervous’

McCook says the prospect of inspiring other people with diabetes gives her added incentive as she tries to fulfil her dream of mixing it at elite professional level.

Swapping the cold of the Cairngorms for the warmth of Morocco this week, she will take part in the first stage of qualification for the Ladies European Tour in confident mood.

“There are definitely more people out there that will be reading what I’m doing,” she added. “It is not just that I play golf; there is a diabetic community as well that are seeing what I’m doing.

“It definitely spurs me on more to show it can’t stop you doing what you want to do. At the same time I try just to feel I’m a normal golfer.

“This year has given me a lot more confidence, knowing that I can go there feeling that I can get on to the European Tour.

“I’m very excited, very nervous and a little bit apprehensive, but it is exciting to try something that I’ve wanted to do since I started playing golf.”

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BBC Sport – Golf

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