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Interview with Adam Schefter: Type 1 Diabetes Screening, Parenting, and Career Advice for Teens

Adam Schefter is an ESPN Senior NFL Insider with millions of followers. He is a University of Michigan and Northwestern University alumnus who has received numerous awards for his NFL journalism. He has been deemed Media Person of the Year, Best NFL Insider, and one of the most influential people around the NFL. 

Adam spoke with us to spread awareness of type one diabetes, explain his role in, and to give us an insight to his life with his family along with sharing some personal advice for teens going to college.

Learn more about how to get screened for type 1 diabetes

Adam Schefter Interview

Q: What is your personal connection to type one diabetes

Schefter: My wife is type one. She was diagnosed with type one diabetes about a year after 9/11. Type one diabetes is an autoimmune disease – Type one diabetes can’t be prevented, but it can be detected early, which is the reason that I signed up with as a spokesperson for Sanofi. Watching what my wife goes through on a daily basis and the challenges that she has and what she has to deal with is not easy. 

It’s difficult. You know, I live with type one diabetes every day through her journey, and that’s how I got to know how important it is to detect type one diabetes before diagnosing it. Screening can give you valuable time to prepare, and that’s why we believe it’s critically important to get everyone involved – to get your family screened including your kids. 

The more information you have in advance, the better it will be, and you can basically help try to diagnose it before there’s any noticeable symptoms, before insulin is required, and before there potentially could be any serious complications. Before any of that – we urge you to get tested, get screened early, consult with your doctor, go to for information on how to get screened, and to try to be out in front of this. 

Q: What can our readers do to find out if they have type one diabetes?

Schefter: Its important to go visit with your doctor and telling your doctor you want to be screened for type one diabetes. In doing so, your doctor orders a blood test that can detect type one diabetes related autoantibodies. If you do test positive, your doctor will work with you on a care plan.

The reality is, you have to screen early before you see the symptoms and not wait. Hopefully people can visit and read about it there, but we want to stress how important having more time to prepare and plan for the future is. That’s what this is all about.

Q: What can our readers do to get involved with the1pledge?

Schefter: Basically, we are out encouraging people to get screened. On you can obtain information on how to be screened. 

It’s about advocating for yourself, your family, and telling your doctor that you and your family want to be screened today. Information is power. Knowledge is power. It’s core to me as I make my living through information, and I want people to have as much information as they can in regards to this issue.

Q: Can you please let us in on what your wife is enduring on a daily basis?

Schefter: Of course. You know, my wife is the toughest person I know. 

Her sugars, she monitors them all day. Sometimes they go way up and its dangerous. And sometimes they go dangerously low. People with type one diabetes have to try to maintain those sugars at all times.

Last week, she visited the eye doctor. She has to visit the eye doctor every three to four months to get her vision screened, because as a type one diabetic she’s at risk for vision  and other eye issues. 

I’m just telling you living with them, it’s a very difficult. When most people have a cold, they know that in 3-5 days, they’re going to be better. Type one diabetes isn’t like that. When you have type one diabetes, you’re not going to get better. You aren’t going to get better because there is no cure. You can’t prevent it.

You can detect type one diabetes, but you can’t cure it. You can’t prevent it. And doctors are coming up with ways all the time to better manage it, and living with it is becoming more manageable. It’s something that my wife and every type one diabetic has to deal with on a daily basis. You never stop thinking about dealing with the disease day in and day out. And it’s a challenging diseas. It really is for people. 

The analogy that someone used to me before, in talking about autoimmune diseases is this. You have a castle, and you’re there with people who are in charge of defending the castle. Well if those people started fighting amongst themselves in your castle, then your castle wouldn’t be quite as safe. That’s what it’s like when you have type one diabetes – your body’s National Guard is fighting amongst itself and endangering the castle. 

Q: A lot of our teens and their parents are looking at going into college, and we’ve heard from many readers that they’re interested in sports journalism. How did you decide to go to Michigan and then Northwestern?

Schefter: I appreciate the question. I get asked by a lot of young people for career counseling guidance, and what I’ve come to realize is, I believe its not as important where you go to school, so much as it is what you do while you’re at that school. And what I mean by that is this, you could go to a local community college which is not an Ivy League school and not one of the top 20 universities in the country, and while you’re at your community college, you could work for the student TV station or student radio show or student newspaper, and you could do internships for the local TV affiliates or local radio stations or whatever it may be, a local sports agency or a local sports team. And I believe that the person who’s at that local community college, who has all those experiences is in just as good of a position as somebody who goes to a great university and majors in journalism.

So it’s really not to me so much as where you go to school, as much as it is what it is when you do go to school. 

I went to the University of Michigan, which runs through my soul. I love Michigan as much as anybody could. Love Michigan, but when I went there in my freshman year, I went out for a fraternity and did not get in. And when I didn’t get into the fraternity, I went down to the football office to see if they needed somebody to pick up jock straps and handing out water bottles and they didn’t need anyone. And when they didn’t need somebody, I went to the basketball office, and they didn’t need somebody. I now been rejected from the fraternity and the football office and the basketball office, I said, “Well, what can I do?”. I’ve always been somebody who liked to be busy and active, and so I went and volunteered for the student newspaper, because it was the only place that didn’t say no. Unlike the other places, the student newspaper wasn’t turning away anybody, they were welcoming everybody.

So I tried that, and I tried it, and kept doing it, and grew to love it so much so that I decided to try to make my living in it. And so I did not go to Michigan setting out to become a sports reporter. I stumbled into that because I was interested in trying things and exposing myself, just like I would encourage every young teenager out there to do try things, do things, experience things, try jobs, try internships, do different things, see what you like, see what you don’t like. And then you build your resume. You get to know people. You gain recommendations. And you have a better idea about what you do and don’t want to do as you get older.

Q: What did you initially want to do at Michigan, or were you undeclared before figuring it out?

Schefter: I didn’t know what I wanted to do. I had no idea. I knew I wanted to go to Michigan football games; I wanted to be in a fraternity; I wanted to have a good time; I wanted to keep good grades; I wanted to be like any student. 

I didn’t, I didn’t know what I wanted to do. There’s so many people who go to college thinking, “Okay, well, maybe I’ll go to law school or business school.” That’s, that’s what I thought I might do. 

I thought, “I’ll go to school and then that’ll be the training ground before I go to law school or business school, and then I’ll get my masters. And then once I got a Masters, I’d be set up to succeed.” 

And honestly, I think back at it, and I think, “No, you learn so much more by doing things, by creating your own experiences, than you do by anything that you could study in school, by any major you could declare.”

You create your own experiences. You decide what you’re going to. The choices you make in college start your future. I tell all college students, they have four summers, four summers from the time when school ends to the time when school begins. Some people want to go on vacations. Some people want to lay at the beach. Some people want to be lifeguards. Some people want to just go party, whatever it may be, but you’ve got four summers to help shape and mold your resume, to add experiences, to move yourself closer to where you want to go in your future.

Q: Do you have any advice for a parent raising a blended family?

Schefter: Parenting is hard, and parenting a blended family is even harder. So I just think it’s about what so much of life is: being consistent and putting for the effort, knowing that every decision you make is not going to be the right one, but continuing to try and put in that effort as a professional, as a parent, as whatever it may be. 

I look at raising my daughter now – she’s 15. And that comes with its own challenges, and that has not been easy in many ways. And I look at my son, for whom I was not his biological father. He lost his biological father on 9/11 when he was a year old, and that had its own challenges, but today, he and I have a very nice relationship. A great relationship. I love him like my own son. I think he loves me like his father. You’d have to ask him. 

You know, I think all you can do in these situations, is your best – and sometimes it’s not enough. And sometimes it’s not right. And sometimes it doesn’t go the way you want. But all you can do is keep trying to do your best. And if you do that, then hopefully, over time, they’ll know that you are on their side. It’s been 17 years with my son. I have his best interest at heart. I’m looking out for him. I want what’s best for him. And you let that go where it will.