Liam Aman has become accustomed to dealing with difficult situations.
During the Watterson High School boys basketball team's 52-47 loss to Dayton Carroll on Dec. 28 in the Dayton Northridge Holiday Tournament, the senior point guard cut his chin diving for a loose ball but insisted on returning to the game once a bandage was applied.
Aman ended up getting four stitches after the game but played the next day, too, when the Eagles lost to Dayton Stivers 59-46.
A much bigger obstacle took root in his life almost exactly a year earlier, but that hasn't kept him down, either.
On New Year's Eve 2016, after his team returned from the same Northridge Holiday Tournament, he found out that he had Type 1 diabetes.
"It was for sure a shock," Aman said. "I didn't expect it since I play a lot of sports. ... It's just something I've had to overcome, and over time I've gotten used to it."
Aman was a three-year varsity player for the Eagles' boys soccer program and is in his second season as a key player for the boys basketball team, which was 3-6 overall after losing 54-47 to Mansfield St. Peter's on Jan. 6 and before playing Buckeye Valley on Jan. 9.
He had one of his best games this winter when he scored 10 points in a 45-38 victory over DeSales in a CCL contest Dec. 15. The Eagles are 2-1 in the CCL entering their home game Friday, Jan. 12, against Ready.
His best attribute might be his ability to keep fighting, no matter the circumstances.
"He hurt his ankle (against DeSales) but battled through it and hit some big free throws," coach Vince Lombardo said. "Liam was diagnosed (with diabetes) during the season last year but has been doing a great job. It doesn't seem to affect him energy-wise. He also played soccer, so endurance-wise, he does very well."
Aman first realized something was wrong in late December 2016, when he began having trouble seeing the basket while on the floor.
His mother, Stacie Aman, also remembers him drinking four large bottles of water one day.
"I said, 'You're acting like a diabetic,' " Stacie said. "He was drinking lots of water. I said, 'We need to take you in to see the doctor.' He was saying he needed to see an eye doctor because he couldn't see the basket or the clock. I could tell things weren't right when he was home during break and I had him with me for 24 hours."
According to mayoclinic.org, Type 1 diabetes is "a chronic condition in which the pancreas produces little or no insulin." Insulin is a hormone needed to allow glucose to enter cells to produce energy.
Type 1 diabetes, which has no cure, often produces symptoms such as increased thirst, extreme hunger and blurred vision, but its cause is unknown.
Coincidentally, the family dog also was diagnosed with diabetes at about the same time Liam was.
"It all happened in about a two-week span," said Liam, who has family members who have been diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes. "My eyesight started going away and I started drinking a lot of water. I started with insulin shots. I have to take a long-lasting insulin shot each day and I take insulin shots each time I eat something. I have a device that tells me what my blood sugar is at times throughout the day. I can have a piece of cake, but I have to watch the insulin to (carbohydrates) ratio.
"I missed about a week (last season), mostly getting back in the swing of things. I didn't want it to affect the way I played, but it was not to the point I thought I couldn't do what I was doing before. I didn't want it to stop me from playing soccer or basketball."
Liam is considering studying business in college and hopes to continue playing soccer and basketball at the club or intramural level.
According to his father, Jim Aman, he's been able to work out and gain muscle more effectively since beginning treatment for diabetes.
Liam, who wears a Continuous Glucose Monitoring system (CGM) on his stomach, has two older sisters but is the only member of the family with Type 1 diabetes.
According to Stacie Aman, he's taken the challenge of learning to live with the condition head-on.
"We were discharged at 6:30 (p.m.) on New Year's Eve (2016), and he says, 'I'll see you later, I'm going to a party,'" Stacie said. "He's got a great attitude about it, like 'I have diabetes, but I'm not sick.' He took it on like a champ and has done 100 percent of his own care."
Girls team seeking consistent production
The girls basketball team got a big boost to begin the 2018 portion of its schedule when it beat DeSales 53-33 in a CCL contest Jan. 4.
Paige Woodford had the hot hand, making seven 3-pointers and finishing with 23 points to lead the Eagles, who outscored the Stallions 17-3 in the third quarter.
It wasn't the first time Woodford has led Watterson in scoring this winter, but three of her teammates have had games where they led in scoring as well.
Grace Jenkins had a five-game stretch in mid-December in which she averaged 16.4 points and was averaging 9.3 points through 12 games to rank third on the team, behind Lainey Billing (12.0) and Woodford (9.8). Other offensive contributors include Gretchen Glanzman and Julianna DiSabato, who were averaging 5.5 and 4.7 points, respectively.
"Having three players in double figures has been a big help," coach Tom Woodford said.
Watterson was 8-5 overall after losing to Olentangy Orange 43-41 on Jan. 6 and before playing Dublin Jerome on Jan. 8 and is 2-0 in the CCL heading into its game Thursday, Jan. 11, at home against Hartley.
The Hawks are 9-3 overall and 2-0 in the league.
Hockey team wins tournament title
The hockey team captured the championship of the Cleveland Heights Tournament with a 5-2 victory over Strongsville on Dec. 29.
The Eagles opened the event by tying Hudson at 3 on Dec. 27 and beat Cleveland Heights 2-1 and Cleveland Benedictine 4-3 on Dec. 28 to advance to the final.
Nick Kuraly was named tournament MVP and Ryan Roark was named Best Goaltender.
Watterson was 13-6-1-1 overall and 5-3-0-1 in the Capital Hockey Conference-Blue Division after beating Dublin Coffman 10-4 on Jan. 7. In other league action, the Eagles beat DeSales 5-0 on Jan. 5 and lost to Upper Arlington 4-2 on Jan. 6.
Below are the coming schedules for the Watterson boys basketball, girls basketball, bowling, hockey and swimming & diving teams:
*Jan. 12 -- Home vs. Ready
Jan. 13 -- Home vs. Westerville North
*Jan. 11 -- Home vs. Hartley
Jan. 16 -- At Canal Winchester
*Jan. 11 -- Independence at Sawmill Lanes
*Jan. 16 -- Mifflin at Sawmill Lanes
Jan. 12 -- Fremont Ice Wolves in Big Chill Tournament in Ann Arbor, Mich.
Jan. 13 -- Michigan Ice Hawks and South Elgin (Ill.) Mid Valley Rampage in Big Chill Tournament
Jan. 14 -- TBD in Big Chill Tournament
SWIMMING & DIVING
Jan. 12 -- Dublin Scioto at Dublin Recreation Center
Jan. 13 -- Northeast Classic at Branin Natatorium in Canton