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PFATS Recognizes World Diabetes Day - Issues a Statement in Support of JDRF!








Julie Feest, Executive Director, JDRF Northeast Wisconsin Chapter

920-997-0038 or

Bryan Engel, ATC , Assistant Athletic Trainer, Green Bay Packers

920-569-7500 or



Professional Football Athletic Trainers Society Acknowledges Support for JDRF

MENASHA, Wis.(November 14, 2014)In his daily role as an assistant certified athletic trainer for the Green Bay Packers, Bryan Engel helps a squad of high-performance athletes deal with the injuries and inevitable wear-and-tear that occurs through a season of professional football. At home, however, Engel’s focus shifts to him and his wife Jennifer helping their 10-year-old son, Evan, navigate life with type 1 diabetes (T1D), a chronic condition that can be controlled, but not cured. This month Engel hopes to help raise awareness of T1D and the work of JDRF in funding diabetes research and outreach programs through a statement issued by the Professional Football Athletic Trainers Society (PFATS) that he hopes will ripple through the entire community of certified athletic trainers. The statement will appear on the PFATS website in November in conjunction with National Diabetes Awareness Month.

The statement is as follows: The Professional Football Athletic Trainers Society (PFATS) and JDRF make a difference in the lives of others through scientific research and education. PFATS supports JDRF’s efforts to improve the lives of athletes—and all people affected by type 1 diabetes (T1D)—by delivering life-changing therapies and treatments to the community until a cure is found. Every day, approximately 80 people are diagnosed with T1D in the United States alone. As certified athletic trainers, we must have the education and training to recognize, care for, and treat those diagnosed with T1D as they come under our care in our athletic training rooms.  JDRF45

“As certified athletic trainers I feel we are well-versed in treating injuries,” said Engel, who has been a full-time member of the Packer’s training staff since 1999. “But until Evan was diagnosed with T1D, I knew very little about managing this disease. At some point PFATS members are likely to come in contact with an athlete with T1D, and I feel it’s both important that we are prepared, and that we acknowledge and support the important work funded by JDRF in improving the lives of anyone with T1D.”

Chicago Bears quarterback Jay Cutler, who was diagnosed with T1D in 2008, is perhaps the most-visible example of an NFL player competing while managing diabetes.

"The Professional Football Athletic Trainers Society is the leader in management of football related injuries and illnesses,” adds PFATS President Rick Burkholder, Kansas City Chiefs Head Athletic Trainer.“We recognize type 1 diabetesis a diseasethat may afflictsome of the players in our great game.  We hope to bring more awareness to T1Dso that all certified athletic trainers are prepared to deal with this condition.  At PFATS we support JDRF's efforts in fundingT1D research and education, and hope for a world without this disease in the future.” 

Evan Engel was diagnosed with T1D on January 4, 2010, and has since been successfully managing the disease. Bryan and Jennifer Engel also have two older sons who do not have T1D.

“Every day 80 people in the United States are diagnosed with T1D,” said Bryan Engel. “Advances in managing the effects of T1D have made it possible for those with the disease to live a relatively normal lifestyle, including participation in athletics, which I think will make it likely that more athletes with T1D reach the professional level.”

Engel hopes that by publishing a statement of support for JDRF that PFATS will raise awareness among its members and encourage other professional certified athletic trainer societies to do the same, and that will begin to trickle down to certified athletic trainers working in all sports, at all levels.

“It’s my ultimate goal, as a father of a child with T1D and as a certified athletic trainer, to make sure that all certified athletic trainers are well prepared to care for athletes with T1D when they enter our athletic training rooms,” said Engel.


About PFATS: Founded in the 1960’s, The Professional Football Athletic Trainers Society (PFATS) is a non-profit organization whose membership includes the certified athletic trainers for the thirty-two franchises of the National Football League (NFL). The mission of PFATS ( is to ensure the highest quality of health care is provided to NFL players, their Clubs, and members of the community.  PFATS is committed to the promotion and advancement of both player health and safety and the athletic training profession through education and research.

About Type 1 Diabetes

Type 1 diabetes (T1D) is an autoimmune disease that impacts millions of people around the world. The disease occurs when the body’s immune system attacks and destroys the beta cells in the pancreas that produce insulin, a hormone essential to turning food into energy. Without insulin, glucose from food stays in the blood, where it can cause serious damage to all of the body’s organ systems. It requires constant carbohydrate counting, blood-glucose testing, and lifelong dependence on injected insulin. With T1D there are no days off, and there is no cure.

About JDRF

JDRF is the leading global organization focused on type 1 diabetes (T1D) research. JDRF’s goal is to progressively remove the impact of T1D from people’s lives until we achieve a world without T1D. JDRF collaborates with a wide spectrum of partners and is the only organization with the scientific resources, regulatory influence and a working plan to bring life-changing therapies from the lab to the community. As the largest charitable supporter of T1D research, JDRF is currently sponsoring $568 million in charitable research in 17 countries. For more information, please visit or call 920-997-0038






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