You might think the pressures of playing international netball for the Australian Diamonds or weekly battles with rangy attackers in the red of the NSW Swifts would be the biggest challenges facing star defender Sarah Klau, but you’d be wrong.
The 25-year-old is one of the fittest athletes in Australia. Lean, ripped and in possession of a natural defensive talent rarely seen in netball, Klau has defied the odds to become one of the most respected players in the world game.
Yet despite this, staying healthy is an everyday battle for her. Diabetes, as she says, doesn’t discriminate. Klau has Type 1 diabetes. It’s an insidious disease which can affect anyone: young, old, middle aged… fit, unfit, big or small.
When Klau was diagnosed ahead of the 2019 Suncorp Super Netball season, the prognosis could easily have thrown her off track. Instead she cemented her spot in the Australian Diamonds team for the 2019 Netball World Cup, and put in a Super Netball Grand Final performance for the ages as the Swifts ended an 11-year wait for their sixth Premiership.
To mark National Diabetes Week, Klau is sharing her story as part of Super Netball’s Our Stories, a league-wide campaign to highlight the role models and leaders in Australia’s, and the world’s, leading female team-sports league.
“I don’t want diabetes to define me,” Klau says. “But I don’t think people realise the dangers that are associated with it.
“In five or 10 minutes you could fall into a coma if you put too much insulin in or if your levels go too high you could get blood poisoning so it’s almost a balancing act.
“Diabetes is a 24/7 job and I have to check my levels six or more times a day, and carry around my insulin pouch – which is essentially my pancreas – but I’m lucky I have a great team around me.
“I hope that by sharing my story it helps raise awareness of the great work being under-taken by diabetes charities across Australia