JACK Iredale has revealed how he has refused to let diabetes get in the way of his football career — and hopes to inspire youngsters who have the condition to go for their own goals.

The defender, who was diagnosed with type one diabetes almost 10 years ago, takes injections of insulin to help control the blood sugar levels in his body.

Iredale first became aware of the condition at the age of 13, getting up around 15 times a night to get drinks and go to the toilet.

He lost 7kg in the space of just two weeks and after being taken to hospital he was given the diagnosis.

While it may have been a hindrance to some people, the Greenock-born Australian says it made him more responsible when he was growing up.

He told the Tele: “When I first got the diagnosis I knew a little bit about what it meant because a few of my friends had it.

“But even then I was sitting in the doctors room and I didn’t know what was going on, I had just started high school and what it meant for me long term with my health.

“The GP we’ve got at home in Perth is really good friends with our family and he assured me I would be fine.

“It’s probably led to me having an even healthier lifestyle than what I was going through, and that there are all sorts of diabetic sports people in the world and that calmed me down a little bit about it.

“Once I learned about it and started to manage it day-to-day, it’s something that wouldn’t limit me with my sport.”

The former Perth Glory and ECU Joondalup player checks his sugar levels regularly throughout his day-to-day life, in particular during training and on game days.

The left-back can check it up to eight times before kick-off, and always keeps a sugary drink with the club physio or in his own bag.

Iredale gave encouraging advice to anyone who had been diagnosed with diabetes, saying it has never limited his ambitions.

He added: “I never had a hard time of it, but there are people who aren’t as lucky as I am about it or maybe didn’t have much confidence when they were younger.

“It makes me quite upset to be honest.

“My mum messages me every now and then with people asking her how I managed to deal with it as their kids are getting a hard time with it.

“It never changed anything for me, it made me more responsible and stronger and less of an idiot really.

“It might seem bad but it shouldn’t change anything.

“It’s something you shouldn’t worry about. It’s not a barrier with anything you want to do.

“You’re still the same as everyone else and you just have to think about one extra thing and that’s all it is.

“It hasn’t limited my career and if anyone is worried about it limiting their sport, people at the top level have it and deal with it.

“Every single coach I’ve had and every single team I’ve had has been nothing but great for me, learning about it and wanting to help and understanding about all the little extra things I need.

“The odd occasion my sugars go low in training and I ask the gaffer [Jonatan Johansson] to grab a drink and he has no problem with it, I just have that and then get back out onto the training pitch.

“If people are worried about it with sports-related problems, I’ve never had any.”