UGF Guard Fights Off-Court Battle 24/7 - News, Sports and Weather

UGF Guard Fights Off-Court Battle 24/7

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Go to any Lady Argos basketball game and you can't take your eyes off of Junior guard Darah Huertas-Vining. At 5' 2" she's almost always the shortest person on the court but the Washington native is a straight-up baller with her ability to handle the rock and her craft for getting buckets.

"She's a high caliber kid who can really score the basketball for us and I just really love how she is both on and off the court," says Lady Argos head coach Bill Himmelberg.

Darah is the team's 3rd leading scorer and ranks 2nd in assists. Other teams are always trying to contain her just like how she tries to contain her biggest opponent in life: Type I Diabetes.

"I got it when I was 9," says Huertas-Vining. "And I just happened to find out because we got in a car accident. And they checked and went and did tests on us and they found too much sugar in my urine. And so that's how they found out I had diabetes."

It's already hard enough being a student-athlete and Darah has to juggle homework and practices with constantly checking her blood and taking insulin shots, even during the games.

"It's been a struggle growing up," says Huertas-Vining. "I mean it's hard because you see all your friends drinking Gatorade during games and drinking all these sports drinks. Well I can't drink them unless my blood sugar is low because if I drink them, my blood goes high. And it's just, it's a roller coaster."

It's a ride that's caused near disasters on the court. Last year alone Darah was removed from a game when her blood sugar levels soared to 500, which can cause her to be in a coma. Then in November of 2013, she had to spend the night in a hospital after returning from a game in Lewiston, Idaho. But this year she's adding a new tool to her arsenal by taping an insulin pump to her left leg. It comes with a tube that's inserted into her body.

"It gives me automatic insulin.....and just pumps on the bottom," says Huertas-Vining. "And I can punch in how many insulin units I need or whatever. Or I can say I need a little less. Or sometimes if I check my blood sugar it goes straight to the meter and it will do it itself."

The pump is just one more thing that helps Darah live with Diabetes. It's her ongoing fight that has helped her earn the admiration of her teammates.

"I'm really proud of her," says Senior guard Mackenzie Owens. "She's in the gym all the time getting better. Sometimes she really doesn't feel very well but she still gets in. She still plays in her game. She still practices. She does amazing things regardless of her diabetes."

"I don't want it to make me feel handicapped," says Huertas-Vining. Because the only difference is that I had to take a shot. I mean it's a big difference, but I don't like feeling that way."

Darah loves to share her message with the kids in the community. She visits different elementary schools in Great Falls, telling her story in hopes of inspiring the future generation.

"I think kids need to understand that, as such a young age, you can't start giving up then or having your back against the wall," says Huertas-Vining. "Because it doesn't help. But I think people should really try and make their dreams come true. Even if they have diabetes. And I think me going and talking to them and being a part of that is really cool."

Every time Darah steps on the court she is beating Diabetes by not letting the disease get the best of her. And while her height can be listed and her stats can be totaled, it's her heart and passion for the game that is something even her pump and her meter can never measure

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