Freshman basketball player Nick Shalayda is looking to close out the first season of his college career with a big win against Landmark college. Before we go to the court to cheer him on however, who is this young forward?
Nick is from a small town in Connecticut called Hebron. He first started playing basketball as a freshman for his rec league while attending RHAM High School in Hebron. Here at Paul Smith’s, Nick will be working on a major in Fisheries and Wildlife Management, with a concentration in fisheries. For him the basketball season started off slow, with a new team comprised of students who had never played together before. By around mid-season, they weren’t where they wanted to be, so over winter break Coach Boone decided to make some changes. When Nick came back in January, and rejoined his teammates on the court, their coach had come up with a brand new game plan which has been pretty effective at cutting the point gap and, more importantly, helping them win.
Six years ago, Nick was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes, a genetic disease which prevents the pancreas from producing insulin for the body. This disease requires him to check his blood sugar several times a day, as well as take insulin when needed. Most diabetics receive their insulin through injections, but Nick wears an insulin pump, which pumps insulin through a tube, into his body. He learned most of what he knows from his mother, who is also a type 1 diabetic. He has to check his blood sugar before, and during, games and practices. Though some people would see diabetes as a negative, Nick always looks for the positive side of it. He says it has helped him gain more responsibility throughout many aspects of his life.
For eight weeks each summer, Nick works at Camp Joslin, a type 1 diabetic camp in Oxford, Massachusetts. There, he teaches kids how to live their lives with diabetes. While at camp Nick also teaches kids how to play various sports, as well as the fact that they can do anything any other kid can do.
Playing on the basketball team has done a great job of supporting Nick not only in his playing, but also with his diabetes.
This freshman, who many kids and teens look up to as an inspiration, has grown in his skill and leadership both on and off the court. Look for him to start in the Men’s Basketball season closer against Landmark College on the 20th.