Local high school wrestler with diabetes overcomes odds to become state champion

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EDEN, N.C. — From the wrestling mat to the classroom, 18-year-old Benjamin Bullins pushes himself every day to places he never thought he could go as an athlete.

Along with wrestling, Bullins plays football and baseball as a senior at John Motley Morehead High School in Eden.

In 2014, he won the North Carolina state individual championship for wrestling and wrestler of the year at the Mid-State Conference.

On Saturday, he and his teammates won the state dual wrestling championship in the 3A division.

It’s a long list of achievements for the teen who lives with type one diabetes.

"I've had my struggles, going to the hospital, taking shots all the time," Bullins said.

To stay healthy, Bullins checks his blood sugar eight to 10 times a day, along with giving himself six insulin shots.

"I do it in between matches," Bullins said. "I'll check while people go get water or something like that."

The teen has had a few close calls when his blood sugar either got too high or too low.

"I feel really heavy,” he said “I get exhausted really quickly. I can hardly breathe."

Bullins was diagnosed when he was 2 years old.

Doctors said he probably wouldn't be able to play sports.

"It was sort of not recommended to do it at a high level," said Abner Bullins, Benjamin’s father.

Abner was determined to let his son lead a normal life.

The father admits to watching his son very closely at every game and being prepared for the worst.

"We constantly have Gatorade, we have candy bars, or some kind of snack," he said.

Bullins who also has a 4.4 GPA says having diabetes has actually helped him reached his goals instead of keeping him from them.

"I push myself as much as I can,” said the teen. “And, I would recommend everybody does that no matter what they have."

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