How this Mercer soccer player overcomes diabetes


Image: Jenna Eason

Mercer’s Ally Fordham (21) and Emma Chandlee (3) celebrate after Fordham scored the first goal in the first 45 seconds of their soccer game against the Citadel at Mercer on Wednesday, October 25.

Prick. Test. Zip. Ally Fordham is ready to play a soccer game.

Fordham plays for the Mercer University’s women’s soccer team, and she has Type I diabetes.

“It was a bit of a shocker when it came to me,” Fordham said about when she first found out she was a diabetic. “Once I kind of got a grasp on it and saw other people living with it, I like told myself that that wasn’t going to stop me from what I wanted to do because I knew that I wanted to go on and play college soccer.”


Fordham said she found out that she was diabetic just over a year ago—right before she started applying for college.

“It definitely crossed my mind for a minute like, ‘Will I be able to?’”

Fordham said she took a week to weigh her options and found that some professional athletes have diabetes as well.

“I knew like right then that I could still do it,” she said.

As a freshmen, she has become a starter on the team and won SoCon Player of the Week.

“I came into preseason, and I told myself that I just need to show my work rate, work really hard on the field, do everything that I can do, and SoCon Player of the Week just shows that what I’ve been doing so far is obviously putting me in the right direction,” Fordham said.

Fordham said being a diabetic has been a learning process, and she said she has had to adjust her life to manage it.

“There are some tough days, but it’s definitely like manageable as long as you’re like on top of things,” she said.

Fordham’s coach, Tony Economopoulos, said the team trainer monitors Fordham on and off the field to make sure her sugar stays at a healthy level.

“It’s a huge testament to her character to balance that with being an athlete and balancing her diet,” Economopoulos said. “She’s very positive, and she has an infectious attitude.”

Fordham said she checks her blood sugar level before each meal and before and after each practice. On game days, she checks her blood sugar level before the game, during halftime, after the game and every hour after the game for two to three hours.

Mercer’s women’s soccer team played Samford in the quarterfinals of the Southern Conference and lost ending their season Saturday, Oct. 28.

Jenna Eason
Mercer’s Ally Fordham (21), center, dribbles the ball with the Citadel’s Kate Mansion (20) and Ray Brown (12), left to right, defending in their game at Mercer on Wednesday, October 25.

Fordham, from San Diego, California, said her family got her to start playing soccer when she was younger because the sport “runs in the family.”

“My family had me playing soccer for as like long as I can remember,” said Fordham. “I’ve just always loved it and continued to do it.”

Fordham said she hopes to return home after she graduates from Mercer with a mechanical engineering degree.

“I want to use my mechanical engineering degree and go back to San Diego, California where there are diabetic companies back home where I can use my degree to help make special insulins and diabetic tools for Type I diabetics like myself,” Fordham said.