Inspired by his little brother, BYU outfielder Kelton Caldwell doesn't let diabetes slow him down
"Last year there were a lot of guys that reached out to me, including guys that I don’t hang out with off the field," he said. "I think that helped us with our season last year. Everyone was pulling for each other and backing each other. They were good to me. I tried to act like it wasn’t that big of a deal. I didn’t want all the attention."
"You never see Kelton without his backpack because he’s always carrying his stuff (for his diabetes),” Littlewood said. “We make fun of him once in a while because of that. It’s like a little kid with his lunchbox. You’d never know that he’s diabetic unless you asked him. He doesn’t complain about it. He just deals with it.”
These days, dealing with diabetes has simply become part of his daily routine.
"It’s pretty normal. It took probably two months or so before I figured it out. Right after, I was always calling my mom (Darla), asking what to do next because she helped my brother through it. She walked me through the basics. That really helped. Whenever I eat, I match up carbs, and shot at night before I go to bed. I check my blood sugar whenever I feel the need to. It’s usually two to three times a day. Not always during games, but before I do. If it’s set for a couple of hours before the game, it will usually stay that way the whole night.”
Littlewood remembers when Caldwell’s health began to falter prior to the 2013 season.
“I know he lost a bunch of weight. He always gave everything he had, but he looked lethargic,” he said. “When he finally figured it out, he didn’t complain about it. He kind of managed it. It took awhile, months and months, for him to figure out how to regulate it. I don’t remember a day that he missed because he didn’t feel good. He handled it fairly well.”
For his part, Littlewood takes a “hands-off” approach with Caldwell, letting the training staff monitor the situation.
“They’re on top of it. Without those guys, I’d definitely be worried about it,” he said. “I let those guys take care of it. I talk to our head trainer about it to find out how he is. We haven’t talked much about it this year. He has a good handle on it.”
Caldwell has encouraging words for others, including athletes, battling diabetes.
"I’d tell them to just to keep going. I’d tell them exactly what my brother told me. It’s really not that bad. At first, it’s like, ‘Now what?’ It hasn’t been a big deal. It’s been figuring out how my body reacts to the insulin. It was tough. But I made it. It could be worse. I tell myself that all the time."
In the last inning of last Friday's game against Loyola Marymount, 14-year-old Kason, who plays basketball and football, stood behind the fence in right field at Miller Park, cheering on his brother.
As always, Kason has Kelton’s back.
“He’s way tougher than I am,” Kelton said. “He’ll tell you that, too.”
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