Actions for the Physical Education Teacher, Coach, and Athletic Trainer

Please print and distribute to the Physical Education Teacher, the Coach, Athletic Trainer, and if appropriate, to the playground/campus supervisor

  • Understand your responsibilities under Federal and State laws that may apply to students with diabetes, including Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, the Americans with Disabilities Act, and the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act. Understand the procedures for implementing these laws. (See School Responsibilities Under Federal Laws)
  • Work with other members of the school health team to implement the student’s health care and education plans. Health care plans include the Diabetes Medical Management Plan (DMMP) (PDF, 218 KB) , Individualized Health Care Plan (PDF, 96 KB) , and Emergency Care Plans for Hypoglycemia (PDF, 96 KB) and Hyperglycemia (PDF, 97 KB) ; the education plan includes the Section 504 Plan, other education plan, or individualized education program.
  • Consult with the school nurse and the principal to determine the appropriate level of diabetes management training you should attend for carrying out your responsibilities and complete the training.
  • Review the information about diabetes in this guide and refer to it, as needed, to help the student with diabetes. (See Get Regular Physical Activity)
  • Allow students with diabetes to wear their insulin pump and/or sensor and medical ID during physical activity.
  • Designate a safe place for students to keep their diabetes supplies, including their insulin pump, if they remove it during physical activity.
  • Make sure blood glucose monitoring equipment and a quick-acting form of glucose are available at all activity sites.
  • Include the student’s Emergency Care Plans for Hypoglycemia (PDF, 96 KB) and Hyperglycemia (PDF, 97 KB) and diabetes supplies in the First Aid pack that goes out to physical education activities, practices, and games.
  • Allow the student to monitor blood glucose levels and/or administer insulin, as outlined in the student’s health care plans and education plans.
  • Recognize that a change in the student’s behavior could be a symptom of blood glucose changes.
  • Understand and be aware that hypoglycemia (low blood glucose) can occur during and after physical activity.
  • Know the signs and symptoms of hypoglycemia and hyperglycemia as listed in the student’s Emergency Care Plans for Hypoglycemia (PDF, 96 KB) and Hyperglycemia (PDF, 97 KB) .
  • Be prepared to respond immediately to take initial actions to treat hypoglycemia and hyperglycemia.
  • Allow students to discontinue physical activity if hypoglycemia is suspected. If treatment for hypoglycemia is required, do not allow the student to engage in physical activity until blood glucose has returned to his/her target range.
  • Take initial actions to treat hypoglycemia by providing the student with immediate access to a quick-acting form of glucose in accordance with the student’s Emergency Care Plan for Hypoglycemia. This plan includes information on when and how to contact the school nurse or trained diabetes personnel. Be aware of the school’s policy for activating Emergency Medical Services (EMS) in case of a diabetes emergency.
  • Allow students with diabetes to wear their medical ID during physical activity.
  • Provide input to the student’s school health team as needed. (See How Do You Plan Effective Diabetes Management in the School Setting?)
  • Communicate with the school nurse and/or trained diabetes personnel regarding any observations or concerns about the student.
  • Provide information to the substitute physical education teacher about the day-to-day and emergency needs of the student. Leave copies of the Emergency Care Plans for Hypoglycemia (PDF, 96 KB) and Hyperglycemia (PDF, 97 KB) and supplies readily available.
  • Encourage the same level of participation in physical activities and sports for students with diabetes as for other students, except to meet medical needs.
  • Treat the student with diabetes the same as other students, except when necessary to respond to their medical needs and any resulting educational needs. Be alert for teasing and bullying of the student with diabetes due to peers’ curiosity and lack of information about injections, blood glucose monitoring, or why the student with diabetes gets to eat snacks during physical activity.
  • Respect the student’s confidentiality and right to privacy.