Life as Broncos quarterback Jay Cutler once knew it has changed.
Cutler was recently diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes, a Broncos source confirmed.
While this is the most serious type of diabetes, making Cutler insulin dependent, the Broncos are confident it will not negatively impact his career performance. Cutler, who could not be reached for comment, has been taking insulin shots since he was diagnosed and has been participating in the Broncos' offseason workout program.
Several athletes have enjoyed long professional careers while playing with Type 1 diabetes, including former big-league baseball stars Ron Santo and Jackie Robinson and hockey's Bobby Clarke. Among the former NFL players who played despite Type 1 diabetes were center Jay Leeuwenburg, who starred at the University of Colorado, quarterback Wade Wilson, and defensive back Mike Echols.
"People need to understand this is very treatable," said a Broncos source. "Jay's going to be fine."
Type 1 diabetes means the pancreas stops producing insulin, which is needed to convert food into energy. Cutler will have to monitor his diet, particularly carbohydrates, and continually monitor his blood-sugar levels, but modern medicine allows people to live long and healthy lives with the disease.
Type 1 diabetes used to be known as juvenile diabetes because it was more commonly diagnosed in children and young adults. However, there have been cases where people reached middle age before they were diagnosed. Cutler turned 25 on Monday.
Actress Mary Tyler Moore, 71, was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes nearly 35 years ago.
Type 1 diabetics are made aware of the possible long-term affects on the kidney, heart and vision.
The Broncos' No. 1 draft pick in 2006, Cutler started the final five games of his rookie season and all 16 games last year in his second season. The Broncos knew of Cutler's disease before the NFL draft last week but didn't select a quarterback, a sign the team is confident their quarterback has his condition under control.