York High senior Will MacDonald is averaging 19 points a game for the 12-0 Wildcats. Derek Davis/Staff Photographer

YORK — Will MacDonald spent the summer preparing for his senior basketball season at York High and the goal of playing a sport in college, like his parents Tommy (basketball, New Hampshire) and Susie (soccer, Rhode Island) and brother Tim (baseball, Ithaca). Those hopes were nearly derailed when the 6-foot-4 MacDonald was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes. With a regimen of taking five to six insulin shots a day, MacDonald, 17, is back on track, averaging 19 points a game for unbeaten and Class A South leading York.

Q: When you were working out over the summer, what were your goals?

A: For me individually, my goals are to win a state championship and to play basketball at the next level in college. I work out with (teammates) Brady Cummins, Jonathan Donovan and Tommy Coughlin a lot and we always talk about the state championship and losing to Falmouth two years in a row (in the Class A South region). That’s something that crosses our mind every time we step in the gym.

Q: But at some point you suddenly start to feel tired. What happened?

A: We do a lot of weight lifting and my legs felt heavier and heavier and they kept feeling sore and the amount of weight I could lift was dropping. I thought it was just that I was working so hard and I was putting my body through a lot. That was the month of August. Then it got to a point where I lost 30 pounds and could barely run up and down the court without my legs spasming.

Q: How much do you weigh?


A: I’m 190 pounds and when I was in the emergency room in the hospital I was 157.

Q: While this is going on, are you getting scared?

A: Yeah. I was really scared. I didn’t know what was wrong with me. I thought there was definitely something wrong with me and I knew I needed to get help. I never would have thought it would be diabetes. That’s never occurred in my family. It was pretty shocking and I was just thinking, ‘will I be able to get back to where I was playing?’

Q: What does Type 1 diabetes mean?

A: Basically my pancreas fails to produce insulin which breaks down carbohydrates in the body. My body wasn’t consuming the sugar. It was just going into my blood. A normal blood sugar is like 80-120 and my blood sugar was 1,110. I was like days away from having a fatal seizure. The doctor said it would have been really bad. I would have went into a coma. I mean this is all like in the month of October when I was still thinking about basketball.

Q: Obviously there are bigger issues but still this is your senior year. Did you feel like maybe you wouldn’t be able to play?


A: That crossed my mind for sure. That was definitely an emotional thing for me and some of my friends.

Q: Certainly you’re playing well this year. Are you still feeling the effects?

A: I feel the effects a lot. There’s been some games this year where before the game I’m like, ‘I don’t know how I’m going to play tonight, my blood sugar’s so screwed up.’ But my teammates always ask me how I’m doing and they always ask me if I need anything and they’ll bring Skittles for me. If my blood sugar drops they’ll just throw me Skittles. It’s good to know that everyone has my back.”

Q: Recently you gave a talk for the whole student body. What was your message?

A: Well there is this girl (at York High) who I gave the talk with who has diabetes and she has a service dog for her diabetes. The dog can smell when her blood sugar is dropping or increasing. It was mainly to let everyone know why she has her service dog and to inform everyone about diabetes and what it is. Basically I just said to not take your health for granted and it could be switched up on you any second.

Q: To shift gears, so far, so good this season for York basketball?


A: It’s been pretty good. We’ve really come together as a team. There are so many different kids on our team that take basketball so seriously. It’s important to a lot of us and I think that shows when we play.

Q: Your dad played Division I basketball and I know he’s also in the FBI (in the Portland office). Which of those roles makes it hard for the son?

A: I don’t know. I mean he was a great player at UNH but sometimes knowing he’s in the FBI, I don’t want to slip up. I don’t want to hang out with the wrong kids because he knows. He knows when I’m lying.

Q: I was at Falmouth the night you had 30 points in the first half on 12 of 13 shooting. What was that like?

A: It was kind of emotional for me because like I said, Falmouth, they’ve knocked us out the past two years. That’s all we were thinking about working out over the summer. Being able to make an impact on the game like that, that was a big moment for me, but also for my friends. I could tell they were really happy for me because of what I’ve been through these last couple of months.

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